Work has started to build a passing loop which will enable future hourly services to run between Ipswich and Lowestoft. Currently, train services between Ipswich and Lowestoft run every two hours. There is a single track between Halesworth and Oulton Broad, meaning that trains cannot pass each other for more than 16 miles.
The £4m scheme, jointly funded by Network Rail and Suffolk County Council, will bring a disused platform back into use at Beccles station and track and signalling works will also be carried out in October, as part of a wider £21m project to resignal the East Suffolk Line, to improve reliability and performance.
Dave Ward, Network Rail route managing director, said: “This investment will make a huge difference to people living in the area and is part of our wider plans to build a bigger and better railway. Enabling more services will mean that people living along the East Suffolk Line will be better connected to the main line. We are investing around £1bn across the Anglia route to run a better and more reliable train service for passengers.”
County Councillor Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Roads and Transport, said: “I am delighted that the project is going ahead and that all our hard work has paid off. This scheme will provide a real boost to the economy of East Suffolk. It is fantastic news that people living in Lowestoft, Beccles and Halesworth will have an hourly train service to Ipswich and its connections to the national rail network. Businesses along the line will also benefit greatly – it is sure to make a huge difference to many people’s lives.”
Ruud Haket, Managing Director, Greater Anglia said: “I am grateful for the support of our partners Network Rail and Suffolk County Council, enabling Greater Anglia to introduce an hourly service between Ipswich and Lowestoft from the December 2012 timetable. This improvement represents a tremendous boost for the East Suffolk Line and our customers, bringing economic and environmental benefits to the region.”