MP criticises late arrival of new Saxmundham rail station

Fire at Saxmundham station

Saxmundham station was gutted by fire in 2018. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Rail companies get used to coming under fire for late trains - but Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey has launched a broadside at Greater Anglia because of the late arrival of a new station for Saxmundham.

The single-storey station to replace the building gutted by fire in February 2018 was due to be completed this Easter - but Dr Coffey has now been told it will not be ready until July at the earliest.

Therese Coffey at Saxmundham station.

Therese Coffey met councillors and rail officials to discuss the rebuilding of the railway station in 2018. - Credit: Archant

Dr Coffey said: “It has been three years now since the fire and 18 months since approval was given for the station’s restoration. We know that there have been delays with Covid but I think it is a very poor signal from Greater Anglia on their attitude to customers that they chose to prioritise the car park upgrade with charges rather than on restoring the station for passengers.

"There really is no excuse that this took priority and while we were promised that the work would be completed by Easter, this is now further delayed till July. I will continue to press them and the Rail Minister on this issue to try and prevent any further delays.”

She added: “I also followed up on the lack of northbound shelter. The good news is that it has now been replaced.”

An artist's impression of the new Saxmundham railway station

An artist's impression of the new Saxmundham railway station. - Credit: Greater Anglia

A Greater Anglia spokeswoman said they hoped the work would be completed by the summer: “We’re sorry for the frustration caused to customers by delays in renovating Saxmundham station after it was damaged by fire. Works have been held up by external challenges, including Covid-19 and supply chain issues.

“However, we have made progress, prioritising some improvements which bring significant benefits for our customers, including installing a new shelter on the northbound platform and extending and improving the layout of the car park.

“Platform upgrade works also took place last year to coincide with the line being closed for engineering work near Brampton. We are confident that the end result will be welcomed by customers at Saxmundham and complement the new, longer trains which are now running on the line.

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“We would be happy to meet Dr Coffey on site, to show her what we have achieved so far and to explain some of the challenges we have faced.”