Monday 2 Oct 2017
Green light for major upgrade to increase freight services and improve reliability on the Felixstowe branch line
A £60.4m scheme to increase freight services and create a more reliable railway for passengers travelling between Ipswich and Felixstowe has been given the green light by the Secretary of State for Transport and the Port of Felixstowe.
The project will see a second track installed between Trimley station and Grimston Lane foot crossing on the Felixstowe branch line. This will allow up to 47 freight trains to run per day, 14 more trains than can currently run on the single line. Each train can carry the equivalent of 60 lorry loads, meaning fewer lorries on busy roads such as the A14.
Network Rail is delivering the project which will enable more goods to be transported by rail, supporting the growth of the UK economy, as part of its Railway Upgrade Plan. In the coming months, engineers will start clearing vegetation in preparation for building the second track.
Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “We’re improving the Felixstowe branch line to provide a step change for rail freight in Suffolk and beyond as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan. We’re supporting the growth of the UK economy by enabling more goods to be transported on the railway and reducing the number of lorries on the road. The work will also create a safer and more reliable railway for passengers travelling between Ipswich and Felixstowe.”
The project will bring about a step change for the railway in the east, paving the way for potential improvements to the cross country line, and is funded through the Strategic Freight Network, with a contribution from Hutchison Ports UK.
Network Rail also submitted a TWAO application earlier this year to close six level crossings as part of the project. A public inquiry will be held early next year. Four level crossings will also be upgraded.
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.