Upgrades for East Suffolk Line in Draft Rail Plan

Network Rail published its draft ten year plan for rail improvements across the whole of East Anglia 18 April 2007. The consultation document, known as the Greater Anglia Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS), lists ways to improve performance and reliability, as well as increase capacity, up to the year 2016/17. The improvements are achieved by identifying gaps in the region’s rail services, then proposing solutions through either timetable revisions, new or upgraded infrastructure, more frequent services, or longer trains.

East Suffolk Line train leaving Beccles

The draft plan lists two options which would greatly benefit existing East Suffolk Line passengers and attract new passengers. Currently the line is only one of two rural routes in East Anglia which have a less-than-hourly train service; the other is Ipswich to Peterborough. Two options in the draft would bring an hourly service to all or part of the East Suffolk Line. One option (known as option #14) lists the Beccles Loop: this increases frequency to hourly on the entire 49 mile line between Lowestoft and Ipwich. It requires building a dual section of track at Beccles. Another option (known as option #15) would provide an hourly service between Ipswich and Saxmundham, reflecting growth in the area.

The RUS also recommends doubling a very short section of single track at East Suffolk Junction just north of Ipswich; this is where the East Suffolk Line meets the Norwich to London mainline. This particular upgrade is not required to provide hourly services on the East Suffolk Line, but it would alleviate a future bottleneck that could arise when additional freight trains to the Port of Felixstowe begin using that section of the line.

The draft RUS is not set in stone. A twelve week formal consultation period is now underway. Network Rail are encouraging contributions which will assist them in the final publication of its ten year plan.

To make your views known submit your comments via email to:


or send your response to:

Greater Anglia RUS Consultation Response
National RUS Consultation Manager
Network Rail
8th Floor
40 Melton Street

Specific responses, such as those which are about the improvements to the East Suffolk Line (option #14 and #15), should include a reference to these options.

All responses must be received by 13 July 2007. The earlier the response the more time Network Rail will have to consider these comments. Responses will be published on the Network Rail web page following completion of the consultation period.