Suffolk Council Council is to set aside £1 million for construction of a a parallel track at Beccles station. The project, known as the Beccles Loop, will allow trains to run hourly between Lowestoft and Ipswich.
As it stands Ipswich bound trains travel the 16 mile single section between Oulton Broad Junction and Haleworth before passing Lowestoft bound trains on the dual section between Halesworth and Saxmundham. The current line speed coupled with the length of the single section does not allow hourly running. It also has the a knock on effect whenever an Ipswich bound train is delayed: Lowestoft bound trains running to timetable must then wait at Halesworth for the Ipswich bound train to clear the single section.
At only 12 miles miles long the single track section between Woodbridge and Saxmundham is not nearly as constraining; as a result hourly services between Ipswich and Saxmundham are expected to commence with the December 2010 timetable.
Network Rail plans to construct the Beccles loop and two sets of point at the same time the entire line is resignalled in 2012. The exact cost of the scheme is not yet known. The $1 million plreged by Suffolk County Council will come from its 2011/2012 capital improvement programme.