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Project to dual part of port freight line gets under way next month

PUBLISHED: 16:15 21 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:15 21 March 2018

Freight traffic to and from the Port of Felixstowe will increase significantly once the project to dual part of the line is complete. Picture: HUTCHISON PORTS UK

Freight traffic to and from the Port of Felixstowe will increase significantly once the project to dual part of the line is complete. Picture: HUTCHISON PORTS UK

Archant

Work is set to start next month on a £60.4million project to dual part of the Ipswich-Felixstowe rail line – bringing benefits for freight traffic and passengers.

The project will allow more freight being transported by rail to and from the Port of Felixstowe by installing a 1.4km track loop near Trimley station.

This additional track will allow the line to operate more effectively, giving the flexibility needed to run more freight trains as well as improving the reliability of existing passenger services.

The work will support up to 10 additional freight trains in each irection – each taking the equivalent of up to 76 lorries off the roads, helping to reduce congestion and pollution.

Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “This is a significant upgrade to one of the most important freight routes in the country. This work will help us to meet the demand for freight to and from Felixstowe port, and at the same time, increase reliability for passenger services. The long term strategy to move more freight by rail is good for the UK economy and will lessen the traffic on busy roads like the A14.”

Paul McMahon, Network Rail’s managing director for freight and national passenger operators, said: “This is a vital first step to growing capacity on the network to meet the needs of our customers. The £60m investment by the Strategic Freight Network is set to deliver an additional 10 paths in each direction by 2019. We know that there is more work to do on this busy corridor and we will continue to make the case for investment alongside our industry colleagues.”

Clemence Cheng, managing director at Hutchison Ports Europe, said: Railfreight plays an essential role in distributing goods around the United Kingdom. Existing rail services from the Port of Felixstowe save over 100 million HGV miles per year from the roads, cutting carbon and easing congestion. We already have the widest range of rail services of any UK port with 66 freight train movements per day and there is strong demand for additional rail capacity. The works to improve the Branch Line will support sustainable UK economic growth and improve access to international markets for businesses across the country.

Work will begin from the weekend of April 7 and take place most weekends until autumn 2019.

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