New rail link will mean better freight journeys from Felixstowe

Posted: 6 September 2012 | | 1 comment

The Secretary of State for Transport has approved plans to remove a major bottleneck near Ipswich…

Network Rail Logo

The Secretary of State for Transport has approved our plans to remove a major bottleneck near Ipswich which will significantly improve the cross-country Felixstowe to Nuneaton rail route.

The work will mean that freight trains carrying containers used by global shipping companies can travel more directly from the Port of Felixstowe to the economic markets in West Midlands, north-west England and Scotland without having to travel through north London as they do currently.

Removing the bottleneck

The shorter cross-country Felixstowe to Nuneaton route involves long freight trains turning round in sidings north of Ipswich goods yard, so most of Anglia’s freight trains from the Port of Felixstowe to the north have to travel down the busy Great Eastern main line, through London and up the West Coast main line instead.

By constructing a new one mile stretch of track, or ‘chord’ line, north of Ipswich goods yard, linking the East Suffolk line and Great Eastern main line, thereby removing this bottleneck, we can take up to 750,000 lorry journeys off the road every year by 2030 freeing up capacity for both passenger and freight services .


Rail is one of the most environmentally sustainable forms of transport with rail freight producing 76% less carbon dioxide than road freight per tonne carried. The greater transfer of freight from road to rail as a result of this scheme will significantly reduce carbon emissions and help Britain reduce its carbon footprint. It will also ease traffic congestion on the road network, particularly on the A14, where congestion is estimated to cost the region £80m each year.

Improving the capacity for freight

This Ipswich Chord forms an important part of our strategic freight network, a programme of investment to improve freight capacity across Britain’s railway. It complements other work on the cross-country route, including gauge clearance being completed in 2011 (meaning there is headroom for high cube containers with 33% more capacity and efficiency than standard wagons), and the ongoing construction of two loops at Ely and a flyover north of Nuneaton station.

We’ll complete the project in early 2014.

More improvements to come

Starting in 2014, we’ll use part of a £200m investment in the freight network agreed by the Government on further improvements along the Felixstowe to Nuneaton route.

The upgraded rail freight link will improve the competitiveness and encourage economic growth across Britain. This project will also make it easier to import and export goods, helping Britain compete more effectively in the global market.

Read more about the Felisxtowe to Nuneaton improvement work.

Related organisations