Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 17°C

Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

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

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.”

0 comments

Simon O'Brien-Ellington with his wife, Claire.

Paths are for people, not for cars. That is the driving force behind a campaign started by Ipswich man Simon O’Brien-Ellington who says badly parked cars block access for wheelchair users, parents with pushchairs and blind people.

A loo with a view in Pakefield

With so much to see and do on the Suffolk coast, a day trip is just never long enough - so why not make a weekend of it? Or even book a week-long holiday?

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

A teenage registered sex offender has been given a suspended prison term after police discovered he had moved to Ipswich from the Midlands without telling them.

Myrtle Turner teaches her last fitness class in Saxmundham after 52 years of teaching.

At 86 it’s not unexpected that all the members of Myrtle Turner’s fitness class would be younger than she is – but she is the session leader.

Pupils at Sprites Primary School have a junior pig named Mudlet that they have painted as part of Pigs Gone Wild project.

Can your children create a brightly coloured pig to rival those that have popped up around Ipswich this summer?

Search being co-ordinated at Jaywick for a missing kayaker

People are being urged to stay safe if they visit the seaside this summer after the death of a canoeist off the coast at Jaywick on Sunday.

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

A 20-year-old man from Ipswich has been charged with allegedly kicking a female police officer in the face and biting her male colleague.

BHS in Ipswich.

With BHS set to close across the country by the end of August, retail bosses and politicians are now looking for an alternative use for the large store in Ipswich’s Butter Market Street.

Ray Herring.

Proposals to set up a “super council” to run services on the Suffolk coast from Felixstowe to Lowestoft are on track after the cabinets of both Suffolk Coastal and Waveney backed the proposal.

The scene of a crash on the A134 near Sudbury

Two pensioners were airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital after a crash in Sudbury left them in a life-threatening condition this afternoon.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24