Rail downgrade feared by Ipswich

IPSWICH is preparing to do battle with Network Rail over proposals to downgrade the line to Liverpool Street.The upheaval is being touted in Network Rail's Greater Anglia area Rail Utilisation Strategy, which is looking to phase out the current InterCity rolling stock and replacing it with “lower mainline status” electric multiple units similar to those used on services from London to Portsmouth, Southampton and Bournemouth.

IPSWICH is preparing to do battle with Network Rail over proposals to downgrade the line to Liverpool Street.

The upheaval is being touted in Network Rail's Greater Anglia area Rail Utilisation Strategy, which is looking to phase out the current InterCity rolling stock and replacing it with “lower mainline status” electric multiple units similar to those used on services from London to Portsmouth, Southampton and Bournemouth.

Paul West, portfolio holder for transport, said the downgrading would damage the image, branding, and attractiveness of the mainline, which links Norwich, Diss, Stowmarket, Ipswich, Manningtree, and Colchester with the capital.

The current locomotive hauled trains would be replaced with class 444 rolling stock, formed as units of five 23-metre carriages, which would run in pairs at peak periods. They would offer better facilities for disabled passengers, but the restaurant car services would be lost.

Although the two units would increase capacity in the rush hour by almost 50 per cent, off-peak trains consisting of just one unit would be insufficient to deal with the hoped for growth in the number of passengers using the route.

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