Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 22°C

min temp: 15°C

Search

Suffolk: Rail manifesto detailing plans for major improvements to mainline services due to be launched

PUBLISHED: 10:12 03 December 2012

Rail improvement bid stepped up

Rail improvement bid stepped up

Archant © 2012

POLITICIANS across the area are set to step up pressure for a major improvement on mainline services to London over the next few weeks.

But there is still concern that long-term planning could be difficult because it is still unclear when the next round of rail franchises will start.

Suffolk councillor with responsibility for transport Guy McGregor is set to launch the county’s new rail manifesto at a cabinet meeting next Tuesday – December 11.

He is concerned that the delay to the award of the new West Coast franchise could delay the award of the next long-term contract for this region – it is due to be awarded in July 2014.

The manifesto is expected to call for work to start now on improving InterCity trains – by starting a programme of refurbishing the Mark III carriages that are in use on the line. Carriages identical to these have been rebuilt and put into service on the Chiltern Line between London and Birmingham and have been a great success.

Mr McGregor is keen this should be repeated in East Anglia – the cost of refurbishing a carriage most experts consider to be the best ever built in Britain is £100,000 compared with the £1million cost of building a new carriage. The manifesto also calls for improvements to the main line and further development of the East Suffolk line to bring down the journey time for the 46-mile journey from Ipswich to Lowestoft from its current 91 minutes.

Mr McGregor said: “We know there is a real danger that the franchise decision could be delayed, and we cannot wait indefinitely for these improvements.

“We will need to talk to the government and the rail companies to see what we can do to bring forward the improvements that are needed.”

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer is part of a group of East Anglian MPs trying to keep up the pressure on the Government to improve rail services.

He was told by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin in a parliamentary answer that there should be no further delay to other franchises – although Mr Gummer accepted that could change as the internal inquiry into the failings of the West Coast bid continued.

He said: “We should know by the end of the month whether there will be a delay – and until then the Department is not saying anything.

“But we (the MPs) are still working on Network Rail to try to get them to include improvements in the Great Eastern line on their next programme of works, and we feel we are making great progress.”

Comments have been disabled on this article.

A group of travellers who had set up an unlawful camp on the West End Road car park in Ipswich have now moved on to the Bramford Lane Recreation ground in the north west of town.

Witnesses to a crash in an Ipswich retail park, which has left an eight-year-old girl in hospital, are being asked to come forward.

A 45-year-old man from Ipswich is in custody this morning after being arrested over reports several cars were damaged in a car park.

Ed Sheeran has said it was a “real honour” to be nominated for the Mercury music prize – but admits he won’t win.

Ed Sheeran will compete against friend Stormzy for this year’s Mercury Prize.

An Ipswich playgroup which has gone from outstanding to inadequate in just two years has been forced to close its doors for good after a second damning Ofsted inspection, leaving dozens of families hastily finding new places for their children.

A Felixstowe pizza delivery driver was chased round his car by a youth firing ball bearings from a catapult, a court has heard.

A woman in her 70s has spoken of her “shock” after an alleged assault saw her knocked to the ground in the high street of a Suffolk town.

Highly controversial plans to build more than 200 new houses in John Constable’s home village should go ahead, planners are recommending

The remains of an outdoor classroom set alight in Ipswich’s Christchurch Park have again been hit by fire.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24