October 24 2014 Latest news:
By Paul Geater
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
PRELIMINARY testing work has started on the route of the new rail chord which will allow freight trains from Felixstowe to head west without turning their train in Ipswich.
The new line, just under 1km long, will link from the East Suffolk Line to the main line heading north towards Norwich.
It will cost an estimated £41million and will allow freight trains to head west from Haughley junction non-stop after leaving the Suffolk port.
Engineers have been on the site of the proposed chord, behind the former bacon factory on Hadleigh Road, testing the ground before major work starts on the site next year.
The chord is due to be completed by 2014, by which time the entire length of the route from Felixstowe to Nuneaton in the West Midlands will have been upgraded.
That will enable the route to take more container trains – Network Rail says it will remove 750,000 containers a year from the A14/A12 by 2030.
However it is unlikely to reduce the number of freight trains heading towards London, that route will continue to be used by some services.
Ipswich MP Ben Gummer has said the new link is vital in making it more attractive to put freight on rail – and to ease the pressure on the main line to London.