Rail dualling could go to inquiry

OBJECTORS look almost certain today to force a public inquiry into controversial proposals to dual a section of the Felixstowe-Ipswich rail line.Port executives have revealed 28 objections have now been received to the £46.

OBJECTORS look almost certain today to force a public inquiry into controversial proposals to dual a section of the Felixstowe-Ipswich rail line.

Port executives have revealed 28 objections have now been received to the £46.6 million project - with a wide variety of issues generating concern.

Both Trimley parish councils and Suffolk Coastal have lodged holding objections to the scheme.

Worries include diversions of footpaths, how long barriers could be down at level crossings, traffic, siting of construction compounds, and the number of extra trains in the future.

Ian Chadney, senior manager for port development, said: “To date we have had 28 objections and about six letters of support.

“It's a fairly mixed bag as you would expect - a lot of the issues relate to public rights of way, whistleboards, one or two about the general growth in rail traffic. These are the sort of issues we thought would come up.”

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Mr Chadney said originally it had been intended to build bridges over the rail line instead of diverting paths - but each bridge would cost around £1m as it would need to carry a bridleway for horses, and a ramped footpath for disabled buggies.

Some villagers had also voiced concern about the idea of huge bridges over the line - and that they would look out of place in the flat open countryside and spoil the area.

The footpath at Gun Lane would be diverted a few metres to join up with other paths, Grimston Lane had an alternative path nearby, and others would be diverted temporarily during the work.

People would still be able to cross the line to reach the countryside and river foreshore, and an advantage would be the removal of four whistleboards - cutting night-time noise of trains sounding warning horns.

He assured Trimley St Mary Parish Council lorries using the construction HQ, near the village roundabout, would not go along High Road.

New timetables had removed all standing trains, though there could occasionally be trains idling if there were delays or problems on the network.

Bob Nice, of Cordys Lane, expressed concern about how long barriers would remain down at the station crossing - one-third of the day. He recently experienced an 18-minute wait.

Mr Chadney said it was hoped down-times would not be excessive and that barriers could up and down between trains.

WEBLINKS: www.portoffelixstowe.co.uk

www.trimley-st-mary.org.uk

www.trimley-st-martin.org.uk

What do you think of the dualling project - will it affect your life? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

factfile: What the project will involve . . .

Four-and-a-half miles of the Felixstowe-Ipswich rail line will be dualled between Trimley Station and Potters Hole, just past the new Levington bridge.

Thirteen level crossings and foot crossings will be affected - most of them will need to be widened because of the extra track.

Some footpaths may be diverted, the Croft foot crossing and Gun Lane level crossing closed forever, and a new road junction built at Grimston Lane-Thorpe Lane.

A new 830 metre marshalling yard will be built at Ipswich station to cater for longer freight trains of 24 wagons.

Westerfield level crossing will also be upgraded to full barrier with CCTV monitoring and possibly a new pedestrian footbridge.

The scheme will cost £46.6 million in total - £6,500 per yard. This will include £14.8m on signalling and communications, £13.5m on rails and equipment, £6m on earthworks and landscaping, and £4m on compulsory purchase of land needed for the scheme.

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