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Views sought on track changes

PUBLISHED: 02:05 24 June 2005 | UPDATED: 05:57 02 March 2010

IT is a case of the devil being in the detail for port chiefs over their multi-million pound proposals to dual the Felixstowe-Ipswich rail line.

Virtually no one is against the idea of moving more cargo off the A14 and onto the rail tracks – but people do have concerns about how it will affect them.

IT is a case of the devil being in the detail for port chiefs over their multi-million pound proposals to dual the Felixstowe-Ipswich rail line.

Virtually no one is against the idea of moving more cargo off the A14 and onto the rail tracks – but people do have concerns about how it will affect them.

Residents are being asked for their views on the scheme and invited to attend exhibitions to meet the experts drawing up the plans.

Felixstowe port corporate affairs manager Paul Davey said dozens of people attended the first at the Memorial Hall, Trimley St Martin.

He said: "Almost everyone is happy with the principle of the scheme – and want to see less lorries on the roads and more cargo going by rail."

"But, of course, some people do live quite near to the railway line and are concerned about the possible impact of two lines and more trains.

"We had a few people from Cordys Lane who were concerned about the length of time the barriers at the level crossing remain down and worried that more trains will mean lengthier delays at the crossing.

"They suggested more night-time trains because this would remove the level crossing problem during the day, but more night trains will not be favoured by other residents who might be concerned about noise.

"A lot of the people have lived in their homes for 25 to 30 years and were not concerned about noise at all.

"Others work or have worked at the port, or have family working at the port or in port-related businesses, and said they were not opposed to its growth at all.

"It has been a real mix of views and is proving a very worthwhile exercise."

The number of trains has almost doubled on the line in the past few years without protest. While creating the dual line would allow even more and longer trains in the years ahead, the increase would be gradual.

Huge numbers of objections to the plan are not expected, though some could arise from compulsory purchase of land.

If there were objections which could not be resolved a public inquiry would be held in summer 2006 and the government decision would then be expected in spring 2007. Without an inquiry, a decision would be made much earlier.

The next information evening will take place at South Suffolk Professional Development Centre, Pauls Road, Ipswich, on June 28. The last will be held at Nacton Village Hall on June 29. Each will run from 5pm to 8pm.

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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n 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.

n 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 being rebuilt.

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

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

n 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.

n 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.


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