Ipswich Town director criticises Abellio Greater Anglia over handling of planned weekend rail disruption

Ipswich Town's managing director Ian Milne

Ipswich Town's managing director Ian Milne - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town’s managing director has hit out at Abellio Greater Anglia over the way major weekend disruption has been passed on to the club.

The train operating company’s Saturday and Sunday services will be hit over the next two months because of work by Network Rail replacing overhead wires and track in Essex.

But Ian Milne, ITFC’s managing director, has said this is bad news for the club’s supporters who are likely to be affected when travelling to both home and away matches.

Mr Milne also said he was disappointed in the way Greater Anglia had let people know about the disruption.

“Whilst I fully appreciate that Abellio are in the hands of Network Rail, we were concerned that our local council, local radio, local businesses and the public have not been formally notified either by Network Rail or Abellio that this work was to be carried out over such a long period of time in 10 days time,” he said. “Nowadays it is quite normal to have rail closures on Sundays but this information is very bad news for fans who will be travelling to home and indeed away matches throughout this period.

“It should also be appreciated that this will also similarly affect Norwich, Colchester, West Ham, Spurs and Arsenal matches as Essex/Suffolk/Norfolk provide a significant catchment area for travelling fan support for these clubs.

“The club has sought reasonable requests from the rail operators for clarification and assistance in what could be a potential disaster for us and others over the forthcoming weeks if we do not plan accordingly.”

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A spokesman for Greater Anglia said: “For the eight weekends of improvement works coming up on the Great Eastern Main Line we will be providing rail replacement bus services to Ipswich for passengers travelling from London or intermediate stations.

“There is information and advice on our website regarding the alternative timetable or rail passengers can enquire at local stations.

“We will be doing everything we can to assist customers in transferring between trains and buses at the interchange stations and to provide sufficient resources for the numbers travelling.

“This will include additional buses on standby as required.

“Extra staff will be on duty including those co-ordinating the alternative bus services that will be in operation.”

The spokesman added there had been posters up at stations and information on the company’s website since October and reiterated Ipswich station would still be open with services to Norwich, Cambridge, Harwich and Lowestoft running as normal.