Thousands more people are using the Ipswich – Lowestoft rail route compared to figures from a year ago.
Last year passenger journeys increased by 4% to 725,000 for the period April 2018 to April 2019. The increase is equivalent to 14,000 additional people travelling on the line. Compared to 2009 – 2010 numbers have shot up by 110%; it was at this time that an hourly service commenced between Saxmundham and Ipswich. Following the installation of the Beccles passing loop hourly service was introduced across the entire route from December 2012.
Greater Anglia’s Area Customer Service Manager, James Reeve, said, “We’ve been making improvements to stations and trains and offering frequent services and great value fares, and this along with the dedication and focus of the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership, is helping our local rail lines to thrive, connecting people and communities across the county.”
Recent improvements have included the restoration of Beccles station along with a new waiting shelter and heritage station signage, funding to regenerate Lowestoft station and the old Parcels Office, the complete restoration of Wickham Market station, and new through ticketing from Saxmundham to Aldeburgh combining rail and bus travel.
Improvements were made in some cases by a combination of funding from the Community Rail Partnership, the Association of Community Rail Partnerships and the Railway Heritage Trust, and in other cases by local non-profit groups who raised money to fix up station buildings that had been sold off many years ago.
Greater Anglia recently installed real-time information screens at Melton and Wickham Market, upgraded screens at other stations, installed additional ticket machines and upgraded lighting at all stations.
James Reeve, added, “By working together with partners who share an interest in the success of the East Suffolk lines, we are committed to making these routes even more successful and an even more valuable asset to communities in Suffolk, supporting tourism and the local economy.”
“There is even better to come this year, when all our trains will be replaced with brand new ones, which will be longer with more seats, USB and plug points, air conditioning, fast free wifi, accessible toilets and improved passenger information screens.”
Amy Wragg, Community Rail Officer said, “The East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership is absolutely delighted that more people than ever are enjoying the benefits of travelling by train. We are proud to partner with Greater Anglia to celebrate all the attractions that can be visited by rail in our glorious Suffolk countryside.
“There is so much to explore along the lines; from nature reserves to museums, to locally sourced food & drink. We also have a rich cultural offer, including Festivals, theatres and family entertainment on offer. There truly is something for everyone.”