Trains set to be cut
TRAIN services between Ipswich and London are set to be cut by a quarter when East Anglia's rail network is shaken up next year.And those left will be slower and more overcrowded as they make their way to and from Liverpool Street.
TRAIN services between Ipswich and London are set to be cut by a quarter when East Anglia's rail network is shaken up next year.
And those left will be slower and more overcrowded as they make their way to and from Liverpool Street.
The details are contained in a proposed timetable drawn up by the government's Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) for the new Greater Anglia franchise due to come into operation in April next year.
The SRA wants to reduce the number of trains between Ipswich and London off-peak from the current four an hour to three.
This is part of an overall proposal to reduce the number of services from the capital to East Anglia from seven an hour to five – to allow more space on the overcrowded rail lines for freight trains.
Those trains which do run will stop at more stations picking up more passengers – increasing journey times.
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And the proposals will also slow down many journey times between Ipswich and Norwich – although more trains will stop at Stowmarket.
The proposed timetable shows two trains an hour from Norwich to London through Ipswich, all stopping at Diss and Stowmarket as well as more stations in Essex including Colchester, Chelmsford, and Witham.
The official rail watchdog, the Rail Passengers' Council for Eastern England, is "relaxed" about the reduction of services between Ipswich and London.
But secretary Guy Dangerfield said there was real concern about the proposals to stop trains at more stations.
"We are very anxious to maintain an InterCity service – and if so many trains from Norwich have to stop at every station the times will not be good enough," he said.
"It's fine for some trains to stop at places like Witham and Hatfield Peveral, but not the number the SRA are talking about," he added.
More passengers would use the long-distance trains heading towards London, increasing numbers on them as they head towards the capital.
"This timetable is only in draft form at the moment. We are contacting the SRA to try to get them to make amendments before the final document is published," Mr Dangerfield added.
More space is needed for freight trains because of the SRA's decision to delay plans to upgrade the cross-country route from Felixstowe to Nuneaton in the Midlands.
Now all freight trains with large containers will have to travel via London – and as the government tries to force more freight on to the tracks, more space is needed for these trains.
No one from the SRA was able to comment on the proposals today.
nDo you think the number of trains from Ipswich should be cut? Would you be happy for your train to stop at more stations? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org