max temp: 7°C

min temp: 3°C


Region set for rail investment

07:00 08 January 2013

Network Rail is to spend £1.4 billion on the region

Network Rail is to spend £1.4 billion on the region's main line.

Archant © 2012

ABOUT £1.4 billion is to be spent improving the rail link between the region and London over the next five years.


Bosses at Network Rail expect the investment to make services more reliable and faster – and should pave the way to increasing capacity.

Ambitious proposals to build a third track to ease congestion between Chelmsford and Witham have not been included – although could emerge in future five year plans.

Network Rail Anglia route director Dave Ward said there were several challenges facing the operation of the line.

There were issues with capacity – it is not easy to fit any more trains into the timetable – track and points need replacing, and there were long-term ambitions to reduce journey times.

Mr Ward said: “What we are looking at here is putting in place the building blocks that should make the network more resilient and make some improvements which we can work on over future years.”

The total investment on the region’s railways should total £2.2 billion over the next five years, with about 70% of that going on the Great Eastern main line.

MPs and local authorities have drawn up a manifesto for the main line which calls for trains from London to routinely reach Ipswich in 60 minutes and Norwich in 90 minutes.

Mr Ward pointed out that a few trains already made the journey between London and Ipswich in 60 minutes, and said the state of the track was not the main issue – it was ensuring that they had a clear run.

Running trains from London to Norwich in 90 minutes was more problematic because there were a number of level crossings north of Ipswich which require trains to run at lower speeds.

Mr Ward said Network Rail would be working with local authorities to change 154 level crossings over the next five years.

Since 2009 90 level crossings in the region have been closed in East Anglia: “In many cases where there are rural level crossings, there is another crossing within a quarter to half a mile.

“Many are part of rights of way that existed long before the railway was built, but we need to work with local people and local authorities to make changes to benefit everyone.”

The Network Rail programme includes major improvements to Bow Junction, just south of Stratford station in East London which should make the approach to Liverpool Street more reliable.

A new station will be built at Beaulieu Park just north of Chelmsford, and there should be improvements to track and points along the route.

Mr Ward said: “We are looking at changing some of the tracks at Ipswich, Colchester, and Witham stations. This work would be particularly challenging because we want to work with the rail operator to ensure trains can continue to run while the work is going on.”

He said reliability had improved on the route over the last year, and was keen to ensure that continued.

“We have seen the reliability improve from 91% to 92.2% – it might not sound a great improvement, but over a 12-month period it is quite significant.”

One way of improving capacity on the line to London was to move freight trains away from the busy passenger route – which was now possible with the improvements to the cross-country line.

Most of the freight trains from Felixstowe are heading to the midlands, north of England, or Scotland and there is no need for them to head to London.

Until now freight operators have been reluctant to move their services away from the main line – but during the Olympics and Paralympics many freight services were moved away from the capital.

“During that time about 40% of freight went cross country and the companies found there was no major problem – so we may work with them to try to move more to those routes.”

Related articles



  • How about some trains that are not 25 year old rolling stock that hasn't been painted 10 times? One of the most expensive lines on the network, with no wifi and tramp trains compared to other routes.

    Report this comment

    Neil (Suffolk)

    Tuesday, January 8, 2013

  • This is just a re, re, re announcement of many previous announcements. There is not a scrap of new information in this announcement

    Report this comment

    John Alborough

    Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Undated handout photo issued by ITV of Kieron Dyer who has been revealed as one of the contestants for I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! 2015. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday November 10, 2015. Also among the 10-strong line-up is Diana Princess of Wales biographer Lady Colin Campbell, fashion guru Susannah Constantine, Spandau Ballet's Tony Hadley, TV personality Yvette Fielding, X Factor choreographer Brian Friedman and Union J's George Shelley. See PA story SHOWBIZ Celebrity. Photo credit should read: ITV/PA Wire

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Kieron Dyer was given a rare night of luxury after winning a stay at the Jungle Boutique Hotel, but tensions are running high in the I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here camp.

East Anglian Air Ambulance

The A134 at Assington is closed in both directions due to a serious single-vehicle crash.

Humber Doucy Lane, Ipswich.

A couple aged in their 70s were injured during a robbery at an Ipswich home.

Izzy Alder

An 18-year-old woman who failed to arrive at school today has been found.

The Lighthouse project in Ipswich is celebrating its 40th anniversary.Ali Jordan and Ursula Burrows in a meeting.

There is a collage on the wall of messages from women who have been helped by Lighthouse Women’s Aid in Ipswich, formerly known as Ipswich Women’s Aid.

The police investigation centre in Martlesham.

One woman was taken to hospital and 20 other people into police custody today after they were discovered in a lorry container.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne leaves the Treasury in London for the House of Commons, where Osborne will deliver his Autumn Statement. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday December 3, 2014. See PA story BUDGET Main. Photo credit should read: Hannah McKay/PA Wire

Chancellor George Osborne will declare a crisis in home ownership as he unveils a raft of measures he claims will see 400,000 new homes built across England.

Government cuts could make the regular inspection of our waterways harder

This Government has been very keen to talk up its “difficult choices”.

Abellio Greater Anglia has warned that the services are expected to be disrupted until 7pm.

Trains between Norwich and London Liverpool Street may be delayed by up to 40 minutes.

Christmas shoppers at Tower Ramparts - soon to become Sailmakers

When are your favourite Suffolk stores open in the days before Christmas, over the bank holidays and during the New Year period?

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Suffolk's trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the Ipswich Star e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24