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Rail work near Ipswich Station to begin as freight train depot gets approval

PUBLISHED: 14:20 02 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:37 02 July 2019

The new depot would replace the existing fuelling point near platform four at Ipswich station. Picture: PAUL GEATER

The new depot would replace the existing fuelling point near platform four at Ipswich station. Picture: PAUL GEATER

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A new multi-million pound freight train maintenance depot has been approved by planners.

Freightliner wants to build a new depot near Ipswich railway station Picture: PAUL GEATERFreightliner wants to build a new depot near Ipswich railway station Picture: PAUL GEATER

Freightliner lodged plans for disused track just outside Ipswich Station to become a maintenance workshop and refuelling point.

The facility, which is expected to create around 20 jobs, will feature a main maintenance workshop, a separate wheelsets workshop, inspection facilities, and a new refuelling point.

In its application, Freightliner said that the nearest maintenance depots for its fleet were in Manchester or Southampton, which had proved costly when Felixstowe was the primary port.

Ipswich Borough Council's planning committee gave the green light last week.

Colin Kreidewolf said the economic impact would be good for Ipswich. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCILColin Kreidewolf said the economic impact would be good for Ipswich. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

Committee member Colin Kreidewolf said: "The fact that it is located in Ipswich is positive for the economic development of the area and is estimated to provide 20 additional jobs.

"The ability to inspect wagons locally and maintain them will help to ensure that the loading of wagons can be maximised and ensure as many loads can be taken off the roads as possible while maximising the optimum use of the line between Ipswich and the Port of Felixstowe.

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"The applicant described it as of pivotal importance to the continuation of rail freight from the Port of Felixstowe."

Freightliner has used the land for its crews since 2014, when DB Cargo vacated the site.

It means the freight trains will not have to cross the main line for refuelling, cutting disruption for existing passenger routes which can be held up by the changeover.

An average of 22 trains per day operate in and out of Felixstowe to all parts of the country, with each freight train taking 76 lorry journeys off the road, according to Freightliner.

Company director Tim Shakerley said: "There is a growing demand from the government to move more goods by rail.

"Each freight train takes up to 76 lorry journeys off our congested road network and is a far safer means of transport.

"We take any impact we have on our neighbours and the environment very seriously and have written to local residents to give them full details of our plans and invited them to contact our project team with any questions."

It is not yet clear when work will get underway or when the new depot will be ready for use.

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