Felixstowe branch line to be upgraded in £60.4 million programme
Rail freight on the Felixstowe branch line will be transformed, creating a more efficient, flexible and environmentally-friendly line; improving the experience for both passengers and employees whilst lessening the traffic on the roads…
Important engineering works to upgrade the Felixstowe branch are scheduled to begin in April 2018. This is a significant step for the transportation of freight and will provide improved reliability for passenger services.
As a part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan, engineers will start a £60.4 million programme to transform the single-track branch line. This will allow for more freight to be transported by rail to and from the Port of Felixstowe by installing a 1.4km track loop near Trimley Station. This additional track will allow the line to operate more effectively, providing the flexibility needed to run more freight trains as well as improve the reliability of existing passenger services.
Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s Route Managing Director for Anglia, said: “This is a significant upgrade to one of the most important freight routes in the country. This work will help us to meet the demand for freight to and from Felixstowe port and at the same time, increase reliability for passenger services. The long-term strategy to move more freight by rail is good for the UK economy and will lessen the traffic on busy roads like the A14.”
The work in this area will support up to 10 additional trains in each direction. With each additional freight train taking the equivalent of up to 76 lorries off the roads, the upgrade works will help to reduce congestion and pollution for the local community and wider region.
Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia Managing Director, said: “Together with Network Rail, Greater Anglia is investing in transforming the railway in East Anglia. In a couple of years, the Felixstowe line will be transformed with brand new longer trains with more seats running on an improved line. In the meantime, I’d like to reassure customers that they will be able to complete their journeys on this line during the works, even if part of it is by replacement bus.”
In addition to the track re-doubling, works will include the upgrade of several level crossings to make them safer and new bi-directional signalling infrastructure to support the demand for more freight trains. Once complete, there will be a more reliable service, improving journeys for all passengers.
Clemence Cheng, Managing Director at Hutchison Ports Europe, said: “Rail freight plays an essential role in distributing goods around the United Kingdom. Existing rail services from the Port of Felixstowe save over 100 million HGV miles per year from the roads, cutting carbon and easing congestion. We already have the widest range of rail services of any UK port with 33 freight train movements in and out per day and there is strong demand for additional rail capacity. The works to improve the branch line will support sustainable UK economic growth and improve access to international markets for businesses across the country.”
Work will begin from the weekend of 7 April 2018 and take place most weekends until autumn 2019.