Improvements needed to stations, trains, and journey times say Suffolk authorities

Suffolk County Council leader Mark Bee with cabinet member for transport Graham Newman at Ipswich st

Suffolk County Council leader Mark Bee with cabinet member for transport Graham Newman at Ipswich station. - Credit: Archant

A comprehensive list of improvements to rail services across the county – including improved stations for market towns and better trains off the main line – is among demands for the next rail operator in East Anglia.

The Suffolk Rail Manifesto is published today by the county council. It backs the calls for improvements to the main line – the busiest trains are those between Ipswich and London – but also wants to see other improvements.

It calls for a programme of upgrades to stations in market towns, with ticket machines, real-time travel information, and improved toilet facilities.

The manifesto also calls better services and trains on rural routes – with an hourly service between Ipswich and Peterborough at the start of the new franchise and ultimately two trains an hour between Ipswich and Cambridge.

It wants improvements to the East Suffolk Line so that eventually the 49-mile journey between Ipswich and Lowestoft can be completed in an hour – at present the fastest train is 86 minutes.

The prospectus also wants improvements to rural trains with the introduction of wi-fi and power plugs for those on longer trips.

Launching the manifesto, county council leader Mark Bee said: “We know that the East Anglia region is only one of two net contributor regions to the treasury.

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“Our view is that investment into the Suffolk rail network to support the local economy will generate substantial wider economic benefits through growth of local businesses, as well as produce greater financial contributions to UKplc.

“Investment in the Great Eastern Mainline alone will generate over £4bn for the East Anglian economy, which includes Suffolk.”

The manifesto will be submitted to the Department for Transport which is drawing up plans for the new East Anglian rail franchise which is due to start next year.