Rail enquiry set to start

THREE months of work to seek the public's views on a multi-million pound scheme to dual the Felixstowe-Ipswich rail line will start tomorrow .Around 900 leaflets will be delivered to homes close to the rail line in Felixstowe, the twin Trimley villages, Stratton Hall, Levington, Nacton and Ipswich to gauge people's worries and concerns.

THREE months of work to seek the public's views on a multi-million pound scheme to dual the Felixstowe-Ipswich rail line will start tomorrow .

Around 900 leaflets will be delivered to homes close to the rail line in Felixstowe, the twin Trimley villages, Stratton Hall, Levington, Nacton and Ipswich to gauge people's worries and concerns.

The public consultation exercise is being carried out by the Port of Felixstowe as it prepares to apply for a Transport and Works Act Order.

It wants to double track around five miles of the Ipswich-Felixstowe line as part of a £240 million expansion project and to cope with the expected increase in rail freight over the next 20 years.

Dualling will take place from Trimley station to Nacton, and involve major work to six level crossings, widening of one bridge and another rebuilt. The project will take three years to complete.

Hutchison Ports will pay for the work, which will allow 700-metre long freight trains to use the port.

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Port corporate affairs manager Paul Davey said: "We are sending leaflets to all the homes in the vicinity of the railway line to make people aware of what is being proposed and so they can give any views they wish.

"Leaflets have also been sent to people near the marshalling yard at Ipswich which would also need to have some work in order to take the extra rail freight.

"Consultation will take place until the end of July and during this time we will also be carrying out an environmental impact study, which is all part of our preparation for an application under the Transport and Works Act."

The environmental study will examine the impact the extra track will have on the countryside, habitat, and wildlife living alongside the line.

It was expected the application to the government would be made during the autumn - which is when the decision is expected on the public inquiry into the redevelopment of the port's Landguard Terminal - though it is not known how long it will take for an announcement on the rail plan.

As well as residents, a number of interested organisations will be asked for their views, including Felixstowe Town Council, both Trimley parish councils, Suffolk Coastal, the county council, and wildlife bodies.

Even if rail cargo increases to the target of 26 per cent of the containers the port handles by 2023, it will still mean one million more extra lorries on the A14.

n What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1An, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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