Tuesday 25 Nov 2003


Region & Route:
| Eastern: Anglia
| Eastern
| Southern
Network Rail, the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA), Anglia Railways and First Great Eastern have been working together to secure alternative travel arrangements for passengers who will be affected by the Ipswich rail tunnel closure in Summer 2004. Ipswich rail tunnel will be closed from 11 July 2004 until 5 September 2004.  The eight-week closure is an essential part of a £40 million project to safeguard the future of rail freight on the vital route between Felixstowe and Nuneaton.  The highest freight container that can currently pass through the tunnel is 8’6”, but there is a clear international trend to increase the size of containers to 9’ 6” high.  Without tunnel alterations, rail freight business from the port of Felixstowe will gradually decline. Mark Livock, Network Rail Project Director said: “Network Rail and its industry partners have planned this essential work to Ipswich tunnel to ensure minimum disruption to passengers.  During the upgrade, passengers will still be able to plan, travel and complete their journeys through a range of alternative rail and coach services which we are developing at the moment.  The closure is unavoidable, but we want to make passengers’ journeys as comfortable as we can during the period of work.” - more - Update - 2 Chris Harvey, Project Sponsor, Strategic Rail Authority said: “Keeping lorries off our overcrowded roads benefits everyone as transporting goods by rail reduces harmful air pollution as well as congestion. We understand that the temporary closure of Ipswich tunnel will cause some inconvenience for passengers, which we will keep to a minimum, but we are confident that passengers will agree that the long term gain far outweighs the short term pain.”             Alternative travel arrangements 11 July – 5 September 2004: ·        There will be no mainline train services from Ipswich station.  The station, the ticket office and its retail units will remain open.  Station staff will be on hand with up to date travel information. ·        A direct coach service will run between Ipswich and Manningtree. ·        Direct coach services will run between Stowmarket, Felixstowe and Woodbridge to Manningtree at peak times. ·        Free parking will be available at Ipswich and Stowmarket. ·        Free parking for Anglia Railways’ Commuter Club members will be available at Portman Road, Ipswich. o       A direct coach service in the morning will run from Portman Road to Manningtree. ·        Potential temporary car park at Manningtree with limited spaces, subject to planning permission. ·        One direct train in morning peak from Norwich to London via Cambridge. ·        One direct train in evening peak from London to Norwich via Cambridge. ·        One direct train, off peak, in both directions to and from Norwich and London via Cambridge. ·        Extra carriages on Norwich to Cambridge and Ipswich to Cambridge/Peterborough services. ·        Off peak travellers to/from Norwich can use direct services from Norwich to Cambridge. ·        Local train services to Felixstowe, Lowestoft, Cambridge and Peterborough will not be affected. ·        Specific timetable details will be published by Train Operating Companies in Spring 2004. - more -             Update - 3 Undoubtedly, some passengers will choose to drive to Manningtree, therefore Network Rail commissioned an extensive travel survey, assessing Manningtree’s suitability to the potential increase in traffic.  The results were positive and concluded that, with additional signage in place, extra traffic can be accommodated safely on the A137.  This study has been reviewed by Essex County Council and supports Network Rail’s planning application for a temporary car park at Manningtree station.             Network Rail actively uses every access opportunity to maintain the railway.  Therefore during the eight-week closure additional railway maintenance and renewal work will be carried out in the area which will benefit passengers and freight customers.  Resources from around the region will be concentrated on the main line.  Activities will include work to the track, overhead lines, signalling and telecommunications, vegetation clearance and level crossing work.  Maximising this period will reduce the need for further work during the remainder of the year.  In total 11 miles of track will be renewed; 15,200 yards between Ipswich and Manningtree and 3,800 yards between Colchester and Manningtree.             Mark Phillips, Network Rail Regional Director said: “The Ipswich rail tunnel closure is a good opportunity to carry out other work on the mainline into Ipswich.  Network Rail is investing millions of pounds in the railway infrastructure, which will result in increased reliability and improved performance.”

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - South East route
020 3357 7969

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk