Latest Rail News

24.03.14

New Ipswich Chord to increase UK freight capacity

The new £59m Ipswich Chord is set to increase capacity for freight trains and ease a major bottleneck affecting passenger services on the Great Eastern Main Line (GEML).

Built on the site of the former Harris bacon factory, the new line will – from April – remove the need for freight trains travelling to and from the Port of Felixstowe to use the sidings adjacent to Ipswich station as a turning point, eliminating a major bottleneck on the busy GEML and freeing up capacity for both passenger and freight services.

The improved layout will also mean improved punctuality and performance on the Anglia route. As part of the redevelopment project, Network Rail worked closely with contractor Spencer Rail Limited to deliver four new bridges, 2.4km of new track, improved overhead line equipment, 12 new signals and two more embankments.

However, it isn’t just the rail industry that will benefit from the Ipswich Chord. It has been forecast that by 2030, the increased rail capacity provided by the new link will have helped remove at least 750,000 lorry journeys from the A14 each year, improving road safety and reducing both traffic congestion and carbon emissions.

Rail minister Stephen Hammond said: “We are investing record amounts into transforming our railways because we recognise they are a key engine for growth. It is great to see that investment taking shape on the ground through projects like the Ipswich Chord.

“This will deliver a real boost to the freight industry, driving forward our economy and freeing up capacity to improve passenger services. In addition, it will help remove lorries from our roads, delivering safer journeys, a cleaner environment and relieving congestion.”

Richard Schofield, Network Rail route managing director, added that the completion of the new rail link is “great news for passengers and road users in Ipswich and across the Anglia region”.

He stated that it’s “a fantastic example of how investment in infrastructure can deliver benefits for local and regional economies” and will contribute to the growth rail freight while helping passenger services improve further.

The new chord forms part of the wider Felixstowe to Nuneaton Freight Capacity Upgrade. It is being delivered as part of an alliance between Network Rail and Spencer Rail Limited, and co-financed by the EU Trans European Transport Network (TEN-T).

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