Sudbury, Peterborough and Lowestoft get a better link for commuters as Abellio signs new franchise for Greater Anglia services

Promise of improved services for Sudbury commuters

Promise of improved services for Sudbury commuters - Credit: Archant

Branch services in East Anglia are set to be upgraded, it was revealed yesterday as Abellio were announced as the winners of the Greater Anglia franchise.

The Sudbury branch has been a short link from the Suffolk town to Marks Tey, just south of Colchester, since the cross-country line to Cambridge was cut by Lord Beeching in the 1960s.

Now it looks set to become a valuable link from Sudbury to the heart of Colchester with services extended not only to the main station, but also to the station in the heart of the town centre.

This will be a welcome link for shoppers and also for anyone living in Sudbury who works in the heart of Colchester which has become an important insurance and financial centre over recent decades.

This will use the new hybrid trains to travel by electric from Colchester to Marks Tey and by diesel to Sudbury.

Meanwhile, towns on the East Suffolk line will regain a direct service to Liverpool Street as part of the new franchise agreement.

There will be four trains a day between the capital and Lowestoft using the East Suffolk Line – bringing a direct link back to Woodbridge, Wickham Market, Saxmundham, Halesworth and Beccles.

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The service will use new hybrid trains which are electric powered, but also have diesel motors to power them where there are no overhead wires.

The East Suffolk line was built as a main line but lost its direct service to London a few years ago because of problems running short diesel units to the capital.

The line between Ipswich and Peterborough has become increasing popular over recent years – not because of Suffolk people’s wish to visit the Cambridgeshire city (although it has its attractions) but because it is the gateway to other rail services.

It is where passengers can change to reach Scotland, Yorkshire, and the midlands.

The two-hourly trains are increasingly packed, and now an hourly service will be introduced under the new franchise.

The link will also ensure there are two trains an hour between Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds. There is already an hourly service on the Ipswich to Cambridge line, and this will improve links between Suffolk’s two traditional county towns.

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