Rail link from Ipswich to Cambridge set for boost as part of east-west route

PUBLISHED: 17:57 27 July 2020 | UPDATED: 18:00 27 July 2020

The number of trains between Ipswich and Cambridge could double if the track was upgraded. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA

The number of trains between Ipswich and Cambridge could double if the track was upgraded. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA


Hopes of upgrading the rail line between Ipswich and Cambridge by the end of the decade have moved ahead – with the hope that some trains could run from Suffolk as far as Oxford.

Consultants Steer have been appointed by the East West Rail Consortium, which has membership from local authorities across the region to develop a business case for developing the eastern section of the route.

This will use existing lines running from Cambridge to Ipswich and Norwich – and would mean a major upgrade of the line to Suffolk by building a second track from Cambridge to Newmarket.

That was removed in the 1980s as a cost-cutting measure – but it could now be reinstated to allow trains to run every 30 minutes on the route. There is also the possibility that it could lead to the electrification of the line from Cambridge to Ipswich.

Ipswich councillor Phil Smart has been a member of the consortium since it was formed in the 1980s and said it was hoped to get the eastern section developed by the end of the decade when the “missing link” of the route between Cambridge and Bedford was due to be built.

You may also want to watch:

MORE: Route chosen for East West Rail “missing link”

He said: “The meeting was told we are now looking at East West Rail being a zero carbon railway, which means it has to be electrified. We hope that work on the eastern section is completed by the time the mid section is finished.”

The plan is for there to be two trains an hour from both Ipswich and Norwich to Cambridge – with one from each starting point continuing on to Bedford, Milton Keynes and Oxford.

Suffolk County Councillor Alexander Nicoll, chair of East West Rail Eastern Section Group, said: “Building a new railway connection would transform connectivity and journey times across our region and with the rest of the country.

“This would bring huge benefits to passengers and businesses, driving economic growth and creating opportunities for housing and new jobs. It will also go a long way to get people out of their cars, providing a greener more sustainable transport system.”

Mr Smart said it was hoped that as well as allowing new passenger journeys that the new line could also be used by freight trains from Felixstowe and Harwich which would take thousands of lorries off the A14.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East Anglian Daily Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the East Anglian Daily Times