Train services 'will boost economy'

BUSINESS leaders and councillors last night welcomed new train services for north Suffolk that will help provide a much-needed boost for the area's economy.

BUSINESS leaders and councillors last night welcomed new train services for north Suffolk that will help provide a much-needed boost for the area's economy.

Train operator One is introducing its new services on the East Suffolk Line from Sunday, December 12, with more trains providing a direct link with London as well as the introduction of modern trains and carriages.

From Mondays to Fridays there will be six trains a day providing a direct link from north Suffolk to London with seven trains providing the direct link in the opposite direction.

On Saturdays there are eight trains providing a direct link in both directions.

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Business leaders, councillors, and representatives of public transport groups were given a preview of the new service yesterday when one of the new trains travelled from Lowestoft to Ipswich.

Bob Feltwell, chief executive of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: "This is exactly what we have been campaigning for and I am confident the new service will be a success.

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"Lowestoft and north Suffolk's economy has suffered because of poor communication links and this is a big improvement."

Mr Feltwell said it was not just the direct links with London that will help boost businesses in north Suffolk.

"What is extremely vital is the fact that we will now have much more modern trains operating on the East Suffolk Line and this will help improve reliability. Businesses need to be able to rely on their transport links."

Suffolk County Council member Alan Thwaites, from Beccles, added: "This part of north Suffolk has much to offer with industrial parks, historic market towns and beautiful countryside.

"With this new service I am sure that more people will be able to visit on business and for pleasure."

Mr Thwaites said people living in north Suffolk would also find it much easier to travel to London and Essex without having to wait for connections at Ipswich.

"Commuters who use the East Suffolk Line for shorter journeys will also benefit as it is far more comfortable travelling in these modern trains," he said.

Clive Morris, One's rural route director, said there had been an extremely positive reaction from the public to the new timetable.

"Obviously we cannot please everyone but we are sure the direct links to London from Lowestoft and other stations on the East Suffolk Line will prove popular.

"We are also promoting the attractions of north Suffolk as part of our advertising campaigns because it is now much easier for people living in London and Essex to travel to this area," he said.

Initiatives such as the Community Rail Partnership are also helping to attract more people to use public transport.

Rail operator One and other transport companies have joined with Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk Coastal District Council and Waveney District Council to improve public transport links.

One of the benefits is co-ordinating bus and train timetables so that passengers can not only visit the towns with stations on the line but can easily get to other towns and villages in the area including Southwold and Aldeburgh.

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