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Boost for rail travellers in Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 15:12 08 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:37 03 March 2010

AS THE rail industry was thrown into crisis today with the collapse of Railtrack, Ipswich-based Anglia Railways was demonstrating its confidence in the future by opening a new £2.

AS THE rail industry was thrown into crisis today with the collapse of Railtrack, Ipswich-based Anglia Railways was demonstrating its confidence in the future by opening a new £2.5 million car park at Ipswich.

The new multi-storey car park will double the capacity at the station to 450 vehicles, and was being opened today.

The opening comes on the day that administrators were appointed to take over Railtrack after the company collapsed under a mountain of debt.

There was no effect on passengers travelling today, but over the next few months the structure of Britain's railways is set to change completely.

"It's business as normal today for the trains," said Peter Meades from Anglia Railways.

"We were briefed on the situation yesterday and it will not affect our services. Planned investments in the existing infrastructure should also be unaffected," he added.

A not-for-profit trust company owned by train operating companies and the government is expected to be set up to replace Railtrack.

Shareholders are expected to get very little from the wreckage of the company set up just seven years ago to run Britain's privatised railway infrastructure.

At a special High Court hearing yesterday, High Court judge Justice Gavin Lightman, granted an order placing Railtrack into the hands of the Government-appointed administrators, who will continue to run the railways.

The court heard from lawyers representing Transport Secretary Stephen Byers that Railtrack needed funding of £700 million by December, rising to £1.7 billion by next March.

Mr Byers turned down the request for the extra cash and had asked the judge to make the administration order.

City accountants Ernst and Young will now take over, as administrators, the running of Railtrack which has the responsibility for track, signalling and stations on the rail network.

Rail insiders were surprised by the speed of the collapse of Railtrack – but most will not be sorry to see the company replaced.

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