Eurostar idea labelled unrealistic

AMBITIOUS proposals for a high-speed rail link between East Anglia and London were today shrugged off by the official passengers' watchdog.Guy Dangerfield from Passenger Focus said rail bosses should concentrate on making the current system work - and bringing in a reliable 60-minute service between Ipswich and Liverpool Street.

AMBITIOUS proposals for a high-speed rail link between East Anglia and London were today shrugged off by the official passengers' watchdog.

Guy Dangerfield from Passenger Focus said rail bosses should concentrate on making the current system work - and bringing in a reliable 60-minute service between Ipswich and Liverpool Street.

“Passengers want to know that they can get on a train at Ipswich and get to the City in an hour - that could be achieved with the current infrastructure,” he said.

Mr Dangerfield was speaking after Norwich City Council's Liberal Democrat leader Hereward Cooke called for a Eurostar-style track to be built between London and the region.

That would reduce journey times from Norwich to London to just 40 minutes - and he also wanted trains to link in with the Eurostar service at Stratford in East London.

Mr Cooke said: “The main line between London and Norwich is of crucial importance, yet is often seen as a Cinderella line with second hand stock and a lack of investment.

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“We are proposing that the Norfolk Rail Alliance co-operates with all the councils along the line right down to London to lobby for a better service. We need to speak with one voice to make that line first class and fit for the 21st Century.

“The Eurostar is going to run from St Pancras from next month but we know in due course it will also use Stratford station. That could provide East Anglia with a wonderful opportunity to make use of that link and connect to Europe.”

Mr Dangerfield said the cost of building a new Eurostar-style line would be prohibitive and would also require too much energy to run the trains at such a high speed.

He said: “I don't want to be too dismissive, but who would pay for such a massive investment? Really the priority should be to get the trains working properly as they are.

“Train journeys between London and East Anglia now take longer than they did 10 years ago and the priority must be on improving existing services rather than something like this which is rather unrealistic,” he said.

A new station is being built on the Eurostar line at Stratford - but it is a completely different station at a different level to the existing platforms.

There will be no track interchange, but passengers will be able to travel from one station to the other along escalators and moving walkways.

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