Partnership praised for improvements to rail passenger services on East Suffolk Line

Jonathan Denby, Abellio Greater Anglias head of corporate affairs

Jonathan Denby, Abellio Greater Anglias head of corporate affairs - Credit: Archant

New ticket machines, integrated bus links, cycle hire and improved customer information on a stretch of Suffolk’s rail network have received national recognition.

Services on the East Suffolk Line were rewarded by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships.

The Passengers Matter award was given to Abelio Greater Anglia, Suffolk County Council, Waveney District Council, Suffolk Coastal District Council, Anglian Bus and the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership (CRP) for development of the line.

The Community Rail Awards praised the partnership following the launch of an hourly service between Ipswich and Lowestoft in December 2012 and a number of projects aimed at increasing travellers using the line.

Bruce Provan, Waveney’s tourism and economic development chief, said: “This award highlights the excellent work of everyone involved in the East Suffolk Line and commends their achievements, which ultimately provide passengers with an excellent and convenient service.”

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Suffolk Coastal counterpart Andy Smith said: “This award importantly acknowledges the hard work that is being put into improving rail travel in our area and I hope these developments will encourage more people to travel by train and provide an added boost to tourism.”

Abellio Greater Anglia’s head of corporate affairs, Jonathan Denby, said: “We will continue to work positively to extend the success of our community rail lines, maximising the railway’s role in the communities it serves.”

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New ticket machines were installed at Woodbridge, Saxmundham and Beccles stations in 2013, allowing passengers to collect tickets pre-ordered online to buy tickets before boarding. So far, they have dispensed more than 55,000 tickets.

A linked bus and rail service was introduced at Halesworth station, allowing passengers to buy a through ticket to Southwold, while a bus-rail interchange was opened at Lowestoft in September 2013, with sheltered seating and exclusive bus lane to help minimise traffic disruption. Lowestoft station was also recognised for being one of the first locations chosen for the Abelio Greater Anglia Bike & Go scheme in February.

There were a reported 662,000 journey on the East Suffolk Line in 2013/2014.

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