On track for the future: Ipswich-Lowestoft line improvements set to continue this summer: Some of the worn-out track that will be replaced

Thursday 1 Jun 2023

On track for the future: Ipswich-Lowestoft line improvements set to continue this summer

Region & Route:
Eastern: Anglia

Network Rail will return to the East Suffolk Line in August to replace worn-out track that is up to 100 years old.

Engineers will be replacing over a mile of track that carries trains from Lowestoft towards Ipswich, helping to minimise faults that can cause delays.

The old track has joints in between different sections, meaning that passing trains make the unmistakable clickety-clack sound. By contrast, the new rail is continuously welded, improving the ride quality for passengers and reducing noise. The ballast and sleepers which support the rails will also be completely replaced.

To give engineers the time they need to deliver this vital project, work will be carried out over 10 consecutive days between Wednesday 16 August – Friday 25 August. There will be no direct trains between Ipswich and Lowestoft throughout this period, with rail replacement buses operating between Ipswich and Saxmundham. A bus replacement service will also run on Sunday 3 September to allow follow-up work to take place.

The track replacement is taking place to the north of Martlesham. This is the same location where Network Rail stabilised and widened a deteriorating embankment earlier in the spring. The poor condition of the embankment meant that it could have affected the future safe and reliable running of the line, and it needed to be fixed before the track on top could be replaced.

At the same time as the track replacement in August, engineers will finish installing a new walkway for railway workers along the embankment. This will significantly improve access to carry out regular, essential maintenance along this part of the line.

Mark Walker, Network Rail Anglia route infrastructure engineer, said: “Having completed our stabilisation works on the Martlesham embankment in the spring, we’re now coming back to finish the job. This is a major track replacement project and we need an extended stretch of access to the railway to get it done. We’re sorry for the disruption that this will cause, but passengers can rest assured that we’ll be making the very most of the time to help deliver an East Suffolk Line that is fit for the future.”

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: “This improvement work will help us maintain high levels of punctuality and reliability on the East Suffolk Line. With our new trains having raised service standards on this important route, this engineering work will help modernise the rail infrastructure and provide a more comfortable journey for passengers.

“A rail replacement bus service will run while the work takes place, so customers can complete their journeys. We would like to thank customers for their patience while this work is carried out.”

Notes to Editors

Maintenance work means that rail replacement buses will also run on the Ipswich – Felixstowe line on Sunday 3 September.

Full size bicycles and e-scooters cannot be carried on rail replacement buses.

During these works, passengers are advised to check before they travel at greateranglia.co.uk or nationalrail.co.uk

Contact information

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

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Richard Cooper
Communications manager
Network Rail

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