Track dualling exhibitions to be held

THREE exhibitions are to be held this month to show people living alongside the Felixstowe-Ipswich rail line the multi-million pound proposals to dual it.

THREE exhibitions are to be held this month to show people living alongside the Felixstowe-Ipswich rail line the multi-million pound proposals to dual it.

The sessions will be a chance for residents to see the details of the huge project, discuss their concerns with port officials and give their views.

If there are objections a public inquiry will be held in summer 2006.

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

The Port of Felixstowe is carrying out a three-month public consultation exercise before finalising proposals for the dualling of the line and improvements at the Ipswich marshalling yard.

Around 900 leaflets have already been sent to homes near the rail line in Felixstowe, the twin Trimley villages, Stratton Hall, Levington, Nacton and Ipswich to gauge people's concerns.

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Port corporate affairs manager Paul Davey said: "The evenings are intended to be information sessions to show people what we want to do to the rail line and the marshalling yard, answer their questions and concerns and give them as full a picture as possible.

"We hope lots of people will come along and give us their views on this project."

The information evenings will be held at the Memorial Hall, High Road, Trimley St Martin, on June 21; South Suffolk Professional Development Centre, Pauls Road, Ipswich, on June 28; and Nacton Village Hall on June 29. Each will run from 5pm to 8pm.

The port expects the consultation to be complete by the end of July.

Consultants are also carrying out an environmental impact study to examine the effect the extra track will have on the countryside, habitat, and wildlife living alongside the line.

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

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

HISTORY of the scheme.

Port owners Hutchison Whampoa want 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 the Suffolk Showground, and involve major work to six level crossings, widening of one bridge and another rebuilt.

It will take three years to complete. Hutchison will pay for the work.

At Ipswich, three extra sidings able to cater for 24 wagons each will be built at the existing marshalling yard next to Ranelagh Road.

Port officials are still waiting for the result of the public inquiry into the plan to redevelop Landguard Terminal with a new deepwater quay, container storage parks and extra railhead.

Industry observers expect the decision in the early autumn and say an announcement could be made at the same time on container terminal proposals for Bathside Bay, Harwich, and Shellhaven on the Thames.