New bridleway bridge gives safer route across railway to Felixstowe
- Credit: Archant
A major new landmark has opened at Trimley St Mary to mark the end of work to upgrade the railway track to Britain’s busiest container port.
A new bridge carrying the bridleway and footpath over the railway opened this week - making it safer for pedestrians, cyclists and horseriders to cross what is now a double track.
The new bridge is the last major part of a £65m investment to upgrade the branch line; installing nearly a mile of double track between Trimley station and the bridge at Gun Lane, upgrading four level crossings and improving signalling and telecoms systems.
This work will increase the capacity of the line by 10 trains per day in each direction, allowing more goods to be moved by rail freight to and from the Port of Felixstowe, as well as improving reliability for passenger services.
With each additional freight train taking the equivalent of up to 76 lorries off the road, the upgrade works should help to reduce the number of lorries on the A14.
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The new bridleway bridge has replaced six pedestrian crossings, including the crossing at Gun Lane, providing an alternative safe route across the railway to access the local countryside. Footpaths and bridleways have also been improved to connect the new footbridge to the local network of paths.
The bridge has been designed with consideration of the environment and visual appearance.
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Mark Budden, Network Rail's route director for Anglia, said: "The completion of the bridleway bridge marks the last major piece of work for the Felixstowe branch line enhancement scheme.
"I am very proud of all the hard work that has been done by Network Rail and VolkerfitzPatrick to build the infrastructure necessary to move more goods by rail freight which will benefit the local community and support the growing demand to move more goods by rail."
The work on the Felixstowe branch started in April 2018 and has seen major disruption to weekend trains as the new trackbed was created and track laid.
At the start of this summer the B1077 was closed at Westerfield for seven weeks as a new full-barrier crossing was introduced to improve safety with more long freight trains due to use an increasingly-busy route over the next few years.