Line could be shut until new year

RAIL operators are expecting the line between Ipswich and Peterborough to remain shut until next year, The Evening Star has learned.But when it does reopen, it could be twice the width which would eventually allow the line from Ely to Soham to be dualled - more than doubling its capacity.

RAIL operators are expecting the line between Ipswich and Peterborough to remain shut until next year, The Evening Star has learned.

But when it does reopen, it could be twice the width which would eventually allow the line from Ely to Soham to be dualled - more than doubling its capacity.

A bus replacement service has been in operation between Bury St Edmunds and Ely since a freight train derailed on a bridge over the River Ouse between Ely and Soham last month.

Customers travelling to Peterborough have been advised to use Ipswich to Cambridge services then Central Trains services forward to Peterborough - a detour that extends the journey by up to 60 minutes.


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Or they can travel to Norwich and catch cross-country trains from there which can result in a similar delay.

Earlier this month, Network Rail said it could be 13 weeks before the line is reopened.

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Now they have told rail operators say the bridge is unlikely to be rebuilt until the New Year at the earliest.

A spokeswoman for Network Rail refused to confirm the line will be closed until 2008 but conceded it is likely to be “months rather than weeks” before trains are running again.

She said there are a number of complexities with salvaging the wagons and repairing the bridge.

“The bridge goes over the River Ouse and is fen land which is really marshy land and is proving to be really tricky for us to get the wagons off the bridge,” she said.

“The bridge is too badly damaged for us to get a crane in to lift them out and we can't get in through the marsh land.

“We are currently working on a new 1.3 kilometre road so we will be able to get in materials to build a platform so we can lift the wagons out.”

The spokeswoman added that designers are yet to complete designs for a new bridge and the possibility of enhancing it to take two tracks has not been dismissed.

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