Train station parking charges scrapped

CAR parking charges at two of Suffolk's major train stations are to be scrapped this summer while vital improvements are carried out on an ageing rail tunnel.

CAR parking charges at two of Suffolk's major train stations are to be scrapped this summer while vital improvements are carried out on an ageing rail tunnel.

It is hoped that the free parking at Ipswich and Stowmarket stations will encourage commuters to use the alternative bus services on offer while Ipswich tunnel is closed for repairs.

The tunnel will be shut between July 11 and September 5, during which time there will be no mainline train services from Ipswich.

For the duration of the eight-week closure the daily £5.50 parking charge at Ipswich will be waived, as will the £2.50 fee at Stowmarket – saving commuters £220 and £100 respectively.


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Meanwhile, there will be a fleet of 30 coaches and buses laid on to ensure passengers do not miss arrivals or departures at Manningtree station.

And, in order to further encourage use of the bus services, a daily charge of £10 will be imposed on the temporary car park at Manningtree.

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The existing car park fee will remain at £3.50, while season ticket holders and regular customers at Manningtree have been offered priority tickets from First Great Eastern.

Mark Livock, Network Rail Project Director, said: "Network Rail and its industry partners would like to reiterate to passengers that there is alternative coach and bus transportation and no need to drive to Manningtree.

"Services will be more than adequate and we are confident that delays will be kept to a minimum."

The work on Ipswich Tunnel is a key element of the project to upgrade the freight route between Felixstowe and the West Coast Main Line, as specified by the Strategic Rail Authority last year.

Each year, around 374,000 of the 1.7 million containers landing at Felixstowe – the UK's largest container port – are transported by rail to various destinations.

But it is estimated that by 2010, half of all containers landing at the port will be 9ft 6ins in height, and currently would not fit through the Ipswich Tunnel.

The £5million project will see the track inside the 159-year-old tunnel lowered, allowing 9ft 6ins containers to pass through.

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