Travel arrangements for tunnel closure

DETAILS will be announced todayof the alternative travel arrangements that will be put in place when a tunnel on the main railway line through East Anglia is closed.

DETAILS will be announced todayof the alternative travel arrangements that will be put in place when a tunnel on the main railway line through East Anglia is closed.

Ipswich rail tunnel will be closed for eight weeks from July 11 to September 5 next year as part of a £40million project to safeguard the future of freight on the vital route to Felixstowe port.

The closure will enable work costing £5m to be carried out to alter the tunnel so containers up to 9ft 6in high – which are being increasingly used on the continent – can be carried on the rail line to Felixstowe.

At the moment the highest container that can pass through the tunnel is 8ft 6in and it has been warned rail freight business from the Port of Felixstowe could decline unless it can take the larger containers.


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The tunnel closure will severely disrupt rail passengers travelling from Ipswich to destinations between Manningtree and London, but Network Rail, the Strategic Rail Authority, Anglia Railways and First Great Eastern have been working together on alternative travel arrangements.

Full details of the train and coach services to be laid on between July 11 and September 5 will be announced later today, but they are expected to include:

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n a direct coach service between Ipswich and Manningtree

n direct coach services between Stowmarket, Felixstowe and Woodbridge to Manningtree at peak times

n free parking at Ipswich and Stowmarket railway stations

n free parking for Anglia Railways' Commuter Club members at Portman Road, Ipswich, and a direct coach service in the morning from Portman Road to Manningtree

n a temporary car park at Manningtree with limited spaces, subject to planning permission being granted.

Each year about 374,000 of the 1.7 million containers landing at the Port of Felixstowe, are transported by rail to destinations in the West Midlands, North West, North East and Scotland.

Last year about one in four containers landing at the port were 9ft 6in high, but by 2010 it is expected about a half of all the containers landing there will be of this larger type.

One freight train can carry the equivalent of up to 75 lorry loads and the alternative way to transport freight containers from the Port of Felixstowe is by road, primarily via the A14 and A12.

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