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£60.4m Felixstowe branch upgrade under way

Eighteen months of work to upgrade the Felixstowe branch starts on April 7.

Network Rail’s £60.4 million project involves installing a new loop (just under a mile in length) between Trimley and Grimston Lane foot crossing, and upgrading four level crossings with obstacle detection (OD) technology at Morston Hall, Thorpe Lane, Levington and Westerfield station.

NR has applied for powers to close six level crossings in the Trimley area and construct a new bridleway bridge, with a public inquiry due to determine the outcome in the autumn.

In 2008 and 2014, Hutchisons Ports UK was granted powers to build a second track for 7km (4.3 miles) along the branch. These powers transferred to NR.

Installing the new line will create capacity for up to ten additional freight trains, each the equivalent of 76 lorries.

“This is a significant upgrade to one of the most important freight routes in the country,” said Network Rail Anglia Route Managing Director Meliha Duymaz.

“This work will help us to meet the demand for freight to and from Felixstowe port and, at the same time, increase reliability for passenger services. The long-term strategy to move more freight by rail is good for the UK economy, and will lessen the traffic on busy roads like the A14.”

NR Managing Director for Freight and National Passenger Operators Paul McMahon said: “The £60m investment by the Strategic Freight Network is set to deliver an additional ten paths in each direction by 2019. We know that there is more work to do on this busy corridor, and we will continue to make the case for investment alongside our industry colleagues.”

Clemence Cheng, managing director at Hutchison Ports Europe, said: “The works to improve the branch line will support sustainable UK economic growth and improve access to international markets for businesses across the country.”

During the work, which will mostly take place at weekends, buses will replace trains between Ipswich and Felixstowe from 1850 on Saturdays and all-day Sundays. Bank Holiday services will also be bus-operated.



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  • AndrewJGwilt1989 - 31/03/2018 19:35

    I think it’s really needed as the Felixstowe branch line is a very busy line where Freight trains are being used more times than a local passenger train operating between Ipswich and Felixstowe which is 2tph. And the Felixstowe line isn’t in need of electrification as Bi-Mode trains (Class 755) will be using this line and on the East Suffolk Line between Ipswich and Lowestoft. Plus Class 88’s are also used to transport freight as they are Bi-Mode locomotives and can change from electric AC OHL to diesel at Ipswich.

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  • AndrewJGwilt1989 - 31/03/2018 19:36

    I think it’s really needed as the Felixstowe branch line is a very busy line where Freight trains are being used more times than a local passenger train operating between Ipswich and Felixstowe which is 2tph. And the Felixstowe line isn’t in need of electrification as Bi-Mode trains (Class 755) will be using this line and on the East Suffolk Line between Ipswich and Lowestoft. Plus Class 88’s are also used to transport freight as they are Bi-Mode locomotives and can change from electric AC OHL to diesel at Ipswich.

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  • Frank - 07/04/2018 23:46

    Dual 'Most' of the line? It's a reinstated loop at Trimley with a 1.4 km extension with an extra crossover. Designed to hold 2 freights to follow in succession. 18 month's work to lay 1 mile of track and build a new footbridge. All done at weekends so no passenger service after 6pm Saturdays. As for class 88s in diesel mode on the branch? Forget it. 2000 ton plus trains up a 1 in 70 gradient? Not a hope. Freightliner use it as a test track for all their new locos, to see if they will break on the climb. A 950hp bi-mode loco wouldn't even get off the blocks. It's the third cheap option cop out that should have dualled the track from Trimley to Derby Road, but the Chinese port owners will cut and plead poverty every time, while sending millions of pounds back to China each week. A quarter of the job for 4 times the cost.

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  • .HARRY - 07/10/2018 08:54

    We are all concerned at the extra noise pollution this will cause to those of us resident near the line. This will reduce our house prices. Trimley Station looks like a war zone

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