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Town hopes to get back ticket to ride

PUBLISHED: 23:34 04 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:37 03 March 2010

FRESH efforts are to be made to see if Felixstowe's road train can be put back on track for next summer.

There was disappointment when the ride, which linked the town and seafront, was scrapped and an attempt to bring it back this year went into the buffers.

FRESH efforts are to be made to see if Felixstowe's road train can be put back on track for next summer.

There was disappointment when the ride, which linked the town and seafront, was scrapped and an attempt to bring it back this year went into the buffers.

Now council chiefs are to look again at ways of reintroducing the service, which was popular with visitors and residents alike.

The main problem is that the train cannot run on private land and has to run on the prom – which is classed as a "public highway" – and county roads, which means it must be licensed and be driven by a PSV licence holder.

This just adds to the costs and has made it unviable when it ran previously in the summer holidays of 1999 and 2000.

But town councillors and campaigners are adamant that there is a need for the colourful seaside shuttle because Felixstowe needs something to link its shopping area on top of the cliffs and the seafront below.

Many people rarely visit both – with the steep and winding hills connecting the two a deterrent to most, especially the elderly.

Bus companies have not been persuaded that it is a viable route, and efforts to secure a funicular cable-car ride up the cliffs have proved too expensive.

A private meeting between Suffolk Coastal council and Felixstowe Town Council to discuss local issues was told that an operator had been willing to provide a road train on the prom this summer.

However, the operator was used to providing such a service on private land where only the landowner's permission was required, and failed to get the necessary licences to use the prom.

Suffolk Coastal council's officers have now agreed to look at ways of overcoming the problem – and to examine why the prom, which is not a route for vehicles, is designated as a highway.

If this can be overcome, it might be possible to get a road train up and running again.

For the two years the vehicle ran, it was sponsored and operated by Pier Amusements with support from local businesses, and provided by Hampshire based Road Runner International Ltd.

Called The Felixstowe Flyer, it ran weekends out of season and daily during the school holidays, its two yellow and blue carriages able to carry 48 passengers.

It ran from Pier Bight along the prom to the Herman de Stern and back along the prom onto Undercliff Road West, up Bent Hill into the town centre before turning round and heading back, travelling at walking pace.

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