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Work to start on new bridge over Felixstowe rail line at Trimley

PUBLISHED: 14:29 16 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:11 16 August 2018

More trains will be able to run to and from Felixstowe dock once the line is doubled. Picture: NETWORK RAIL

More trains will be able to run to and from Felixstowe dock once the line is doubled. Picture: NETWORK RAIL

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The project to double the track between Trimley station – where the lines divide to Felixstowe station and the north side of the docks – and Gun Lane started in April.

A map showing where the new bridge will be built and the crossings that will be closed. Picture: NETWORK RAILA map showing where the new bridge will be built and the crossings that will be closed. Picture: NETWORK RAIL

This has led to the line being closed to all trains, including passenger services, between Saturday evenings and Monday mornings.

The doubling of 1.4km of track is costing Network Rail £60.4m and will allow an extra 10 trains a day in each direction to run between Felixstowe and Westerfield Junction on the East Suffolk Line. That could take hundreds of lorries off the A14 every day

Network Rail warns that running more trains on the branch line increases risk for users of level crossings and a number of these will close.

The new bridge, to be built on the site of the existing Gun Lane level crossing, will provide an alternative safe route across the railway for walkers, horse riders and cyclists to access the countryside.

This will allow Network Rail to permanently close six pedestrian level crossings in the area, including Gun Lane, to improve public safety.

The bridge has been designed with consideration of the environment and visual appearance. Network Rail’s contractor, VolkerFitzpatrick will begin to build the new structure in the next few weeks and alternative footpaths and bridleways will also be provided to connect the new footbridge to the local network of paths.

The work also includes upgrades to four road level crossings between Trimley and Westerfield. The work is due to be completed by the autumn of next year when normal services should resume.

Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “This is a significant milestone in increasing freight services and improving reliability for passengers as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan. While closing level crossings to improve safety is always challenging, the bridge will provide a safer connection to the countryside for the community.”

Paul McMahon, Network Rail’s managing director for freight and national passenger operators, said: “This is really positive news for the freight industry and we can now focus on delivering this vital upgrade.

“This project is the next critical stage in unlocking further capacity for container traffic to travel from the Port of Felixstowe to the Midlands and beyond. Joint funded by the Strategic Freight Network, which represents the interests of the wider freight industry, we recognise that this is the key to economic growth not only in the East of England but for the UK as a whole.”

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