Ipswich: Euro boost for new freight route to take lorries off A14

Sandy Martin, David Ellesmere, and Richard Howitt at the Ipswich Chord

Sandy Martin, David Ellesmere, and Richard Howitt at the Ipswich Chord - Credit: Archant

Work on the new Ipswich Chord for freight trains heading from Felixstowe to the Midlands and the north of England has received an £11 million boost from Europe.

The EU has made the contribution towards the £41million project as part of the strategic route across the country to link mainland Europe with Ireland across England.

The new chord will mean that freight trains from Felixstowe will no longer have to reverse at Ipswich before taking the cross-country route towards Peterborough.

The new piece of track will be just over 1,400 yards long and links with the main line next to the Morrison’s supermarket in Sproughton Road.

The construction site was visited yesterday by Labour MEP Richard Howitt who said the grant showed the value of the EU to the region.

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He said: “I am proud and delighted that our work on this bid has quite literally paid off and the European Parliament has approved this cash for Ipswich and Suffolk, which will be vital to jobs and growth here in Ipswich.

“Currently trains from the port of Felixstowe have to enter the goods yard at Ipswich, causing delays, congestion and creating a bottleneck which affects all Ipswich rail users. This cash boost will make the rail link faster, safer and more direct and will help us take thousands of trucks off the A14.

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“This Ipswich rail cash is already striking a positive chord for road and rail users in Ipswich and across Suffolk.”

A spokeswoman for Network Rail, which is building the chord, said it had always been fully-funded – but the contribution from the EU was welcome and would allow some of the capital earmarked for the scheme to be diverted to other projects.

Conservative MEP Vicky Ford said: “I’ve been campaigning for this since before I was elected, so I’m absolutely delighted it’s been approved.

“But we have to remember it is our taxpayers’ money that is coming back to us from the EU – it is good to get some of the contributions we have made back for such a worthwhile project.”

The EU has also made grants towards dredging a new channel in the Haven Ports and for improvements to the Felixstowe freight terminal opened last month in a total package for the area valued at nearly £13m aimed at boosting business.

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