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Felixstowe Branch Line Works to Unlock Freight and Passenger Services

Updated: Oct 4, 2018

Important engineering works to upgrade the Felixstowe branch are set to begin in April 2018, bringing a significant step change for the transportation of freight as well as improved reliability for passenger services.

As a part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan, engineers will start a £60.4m programme of works to transform the single-track branch line to 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 improve the reliability of existing passenger services.

The work on the branch line in this area will support up to 10 additional trains in each direction to move goods to and from the Port of Felixstowe. With each additional freight train taking the equivalent of up to 76 lorries off the roads, the upgrade works will help to reduce congestion and pollution for the local community and the wider region.

In addition to the track re-doubling, works will include the upgrade of several level crossings to make them safer and new bi-directional signalling infrastructure to support the demand for more freight trains. Once complete, there will be a more reliable service, improving journeys for all passengers.

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.”

Work will begin from the weekend of 7 April 2018 and take place most weekends until autumn 2019. To allow a safe environment to undertake the work for our engineers, buses will replace trains between Ipswich and Felixstowe from 1850hrs Saturday evenings and all-day Sunday when works are taking place. On Bank holidays (excluding Christmas Day and Boxing Day), rail replacement bus services will be in place to allow passengers to completed their journey.


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