Victorian victims of new railway age

THREE Victorian railway bridges will become the first victims of a £50million project to upgrade the main line through Suffolk and Essex to accommodate the new generation of railway containers.

By Graham Dines

THREE Victorian railway bridges will become the first victims of a £50million project to upgrade the main line through Suffolk and Essex to accommodate the new generation of railway containers.

Work on rebuilding the bridges will mean that on four Sundays this summer, the branch line from Ipswich to Felixstowe will be shut, forcing day trippers to the seaside to use alternative bus services.

The work is being carried out by Network Rail on behalf of the Strategic Rail Authority, and is necessary to maintain the key role of Felixstowe in international container traffic and to limit the number of containers using the A14 and A12 trunk roads.


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The 19th century structures at Wellesley Road and Derby Road station in Ipswich and at Levington will be straightened and their height raised to allow 9ft 6ins tall containers to be shipped by rail from the Port of Felixstowe.

The bridge rebuilding will mean road closures and diversions for traffic during August. The Levington work will force traffic for the village to be re-routed via Nacton.

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The biggest upheaval in Ipswich will be the closure to through traffic, including buses, of Derby Road between Felixstowe and Foxhall Roads.

However, foot passengers and cyclists will be able to use specially erected temporary bridges.

The most controversial work in the project will take place next summer when the trackbed of the tunnel south of Ipswich station will be lowered to take the containers.

The tunnel will be closed for around nine weeks from July 11, during which time no through trains will operate on the East Anglia main line.

Some services from Norwich to London will be diverted via Cambridge while commuters and other travellers from Stowmarket and Ipswich will be bussed to a temporary railhead at Manningtree in Essex.

Freight services from Felixstowe to London, the Midlands, Manchester and Scotland will be re-routed via Bury St Edmunds, Ely and Peterborough.

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