Grayling gives green light to double track on part of Felixstowe line
- Credit: Archant
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has given the go-ahead for the £60m doubling of part of the rail line between Felixstowe and Ipswich.
The project will see a second track installed between Trimley station and Grimston Lane foot crossing on the Felixstowe branch line.
This will allow up to 47 freight trains to run per day, 14 more trains than can currently run on the single line. Each train can carry the equivalent of 60 lorry loads, meaning fewer lorries on busy roads such as the A14.
Network Rail is delivering the project which will enable more goods to be transported by rail, supporting the growth of the UK economy, as part of its Railway Upgrade Plan.
In the coming months, engineers will start clearing vegetation in preparation for building the second track.
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Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “We’re improving the Felixstowe branch line to provide a step change for rail freight in Suffolk and beyond as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.
“We’re supporting the growth of the UK economy by enabling more goods to be transported on the railway and reducing the number of lorries on the road.
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“The work will also create a safer and more reliable railway for passengers travelling between Ipswich and Felixstowe.”
The project will bring about a step change for the railway in the east, paving the way for potential improvements to the cross country line, and is funded through the Strategic Freight Network, with a contribution from Hutchison Ports UK.
Network Rail also submitted an application earlier this year to close six pedestrian crossings as part of the project. A public inquiry will be held early next year. Four crossings will also be upgraded.
A public inquiry is to be held into the proposals to close the crossings following objections from horse riders, who fear their animals could be too scared to use a new £1.5million-plus rail crossing bridge – and want officials to consider a tunnel. Network Rail has put forward the bridge proposals for horse riders, cyclists and walkers.
Suffolk Coastal District Council fully supports the dual rail line, however it has held talks with Network Rail over the design of the bridge, which it feels would harm the AONB.