Rail boss in pledge on new trains

AN hourly service between Ipswich and Saxmundham should boost passenger numbers on the East Suffolk line from the end of this year.

That was the message from senior National Express manager Jonathan Denby to members of the East Suffolk Travellers’ Association at their annual meeting on Saturday.

Mr Denby, Head of Corporate Affairs at National Express East Anglia (NXEA), told the meeting: “We have the best opportunity in 25 years to obtain an hourly train service between Ipswich and Lowestoft.” The hourly service will depend on installation of a passing loop at Beccles, and Network Rail planned to install this by December 2012.

However, Mr Denby said NXEA would press for the work to be done earlier if possible and that third-party funding would be necessary to top up the money already promised by Suffolk County Council.

Mr Denby said his company planned to continue running three-car Turbostar trains between Lowestoft and Ipswich from December 2010, while the additional services planned between Ipswich and Saxmundham should be provided by one-car and two-car trains. They expected to gain extra business between Ipswich and Saxmundham from December 2010, with a train every hour.

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This had been the experience on every other line in East Anglia where train frequencies had been increased, he said.

Elsewhere in the region, work to replace overhead wires on the main line between the region and Liverpool Street is likely to take four more years to complete – but it will be suspended during the Olympic and Paralympic Games in East London in the summer of 2012.

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