Town hopes for rail station boost
AN improved railway station for a north Suffolk town would be a great boost for the area, a leading councillor said last night.Suffolk County Council, as part of its public transport strategy, is looking at re-opening the railway station at Leiston for passengers.
By David Lennard
AN improved railway station for a north Suffolk town would be a great boost for the area, a leading councillor said last night.
Suffolk County Council, as part of its public transport strategy, is looking at re-opening the railway station at Leiston for passengers.
At present the branch line between Saxmundham and Leiston is only used to transport spent fuel rods from the Sizewell A nuclear power station.
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And, with the station being decommissioned, it is anticipated that traffic on the line will cease when all materials have been removed by the site.
County council officers believe that by 2012 there will be no further freight traffic on the Leiston line.
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Members of the council's cabinet are supporting plans to investigate the possibility of re-opening the line for passengers which could see a regular service to Leiston from Ipswich via Saxmundham.
“A feasibility study into the need and viability of a new station at Leiston is required,” said a county council spokesman.
Bill Howard, a former railway worker and chairman of Leiston Town Council, said he believed the proposal would be well supported.
“When the town council carried out a survey of Leiston people the hope of using the railway line for passengers was very high on the wish list,” he said.
“I believe that with improvements to the level crossings it would certainly be possible to use the line in this way.”
Mr Howard said that not only would a regular rail link help attract people to Leiston and give a boost to local businesses, it would be of huge benefit to people living in the area.
“We have students wanting to go to college at either Ipswich or Lowestoft and they would be able to travel the whole journey by rail,” he said.
“It would also mean Leiston residents would have access to the direct rail services to London that already operate from the East Suffolk line at Saxmundham.”
County councillors want to see all options left open for consideration as they believe having the former Leiston railway station available for passengers would have many benefits for people and businesses in the area.
Suffolk County Council representatives will begin discussions with organisations in the Leiston area and with the train operator One as part of its Community Rail Partnerships.