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 more than a mile of track on the southern section of the line, helping to minimise faults that can cause delays.
The old track contains joints producing the unmistakable clickety-clack sound. The rail that will replace it will be continuously welded, providing a smoother, quieter ride whilst reducing wear and train on the train wheels. The ballast and sleepers which support the rails will also be completely replaced.
The work will be carried out over 10 consecutive days from Wednesday 16 August to Friday 25 August. During this time there will be no direct trains between Ipswich and Lowestoft; rail replacement buses will operate between Ipswich and Saxmundham.
Followup work will take place Sunday 3 September. Rail replacement buses will once again operate between Ipswich and Saxmundham but also between Ipswich and Felixstowe.
The track replacement project is taking place just north of Martlesham. This is the same location where earlier this spring Network Rail replaced some sections of track and stabilised and widened a deteriorating embankment; the poor condition of the embankment meant it needed to be fixed before the track on top could be replaced. The embankment works was undertaken to ensure the future safe and reliable running of the line;
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 for Network Rail to carry out regular, essential maintenance along that 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.”
Note: Full-size bicycles and e-scooters cannot be carried on rail replacement buses.