Railway improvements delayed by years

DUALLING of part of the Felixstowe to Ipswich rail line to take more lorries off the A14 and send the cargo by train has been delayed by four years, it was revealed today.

DUALLING of part of the Felixstowe to Ipswich rail line to take more lorries off the A14 and send the cargo by train has been delayed by four years, it was revealed today.

Britain's biggest container port had agreed to pay for the £46 million project and start this spring before transforming the southern part of the dock into a massive deepwater terminal.

But port bosses say they must start work on the new terminal now - or lose business to rivals.

They are still waiting for the public inquiry result into the dualling and have not concluded agreements with the rail authorities.


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Planners at Suffolk Coastal have now agreed to re-write legal agreements so the port doesn't have to dual the 4.5 miles of line between Trimley and Levington until the second phase of the redevelopment of Landguard Terminal and the Dock Basin.

That is likely to be 2012 at the earliest, meaning hundreds of thousands of extra lorries on the A14 which would otherwise have gone by rail.

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Currently 25 trains go in and out of the port every day, carrying around 375,000 containers, 23 per cent of the port's throughput.

Dualling will allow another 13 each way every day and by 2023 the port expects around 1.1m boxes a year - 26pc of the throughput of the by then expanded port - to go by train.

Development control committee chairman Ivan Jowers said the council accepted the port's case for phasing its expansion.

“I believe we have been strenuous in demanding conditions on the revised scheme that will safeguard the best interests of those living nearby to the port while ensuring its future commercial viability,” he said.

“We have gained guarantees that there will be a significant improvement to flood protection for the area, and a fixed timetable for all the agreed compensatory measures.

“While it is disappointing that the rail improvements will now not occur until the second phase, overall I think this is the best deal for everyone.”

Other positives from an earlier start on the new terminal include earlier improvements to the dock spur roundabout and Copdock interchange, plus money released for community projects.

Experts are today claiming less news homes are needed in Felixstowe and East Ipswich than proposed. For the full story turn to page 20.

Should port expansion be allowed to start without the rail dualling? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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