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Upgraded Ipswich Yard ‘fully operational’ after 12-week delay

The newly upgraded Ipswich Yard, which includes extended rail sidings, new overhead line equipment and signals, is now fully operational with freight operators able to use it. 

Network Rail confirmed that the £25m upgrade project, which had a completion date of August 2014, had been delayed by 12 weeks due to issues with the design of the new signalling system. 

The upgrade, which forms part of the Felixstowe to Nuneaton (F2N) enhancement programme, is expected to reduce congestion on the Great Eastern Main Line (GEML) to cope with future growth, enabling the Yard to handle longer freight trains. 

The scope of the project included extending each of reception sidings 1, 2 and 3 to a minimum of 662 metres in length; all extended sidings having access to the London and Felixstowe directions; a minimum of one of reception sidings 1, 2 and 3 having connectivity to/from the Stowmarket direction; and all works to accommodate W10 and W12 gauge. 

In addition, engineers on the project have been converting the existing No 2 Up Goods line to become Reception Road 4, and have connected it into the revised track layout on the country side of London Road overbridge; and all siding extensions and altered connections are electrified. 

A Network Rail spokesperson told RTM: “The yard is now fully operational and freight operators are able to use it.  We will be going back to complete some minor work, which will not have an impact on the railway.” 

The scheme will contribute towards supporting the freight growth on the network and outputs specified by the Strategic Freight Authority.  Earlier this year, the £59m Ipswich Chord, built on the site of the former Harris bacon factory, was completed. 

From April it removed 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 Ipswich Chord now allows a maximum of 24 intermodal freight trains per day to use the tracks in each direction between Ipswich and Peterborough. 

(Image: c. Rob Fairhead)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email 


Andrew Gwilt   29/12/2014 at 09:44

What about electrifying the Ipswich-Lowestoft, Ipswich-Felixstowe and Ipswich-Cambridge/Peterborough lines along with Norwich-Peterborough, Norwich-Sheringham/Cromer, Norwich-Great Yarmouth/Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth-Lowestoft and Marks Tey-Sudbury lines with brand new EMU trains and extra carriages and new signalling aswell improving the Great Eastern Main Line to/from Norwich & London with new overhead line equipment, signalling and new EMU trains to make East of England's rail network more efficient and more better and reliable for both passengers and freights.

Nonsuchmike   02/01/2015 at 14:24

Much as I would agree with Andrew G in the longer term, I would consider dualling the Ipswich to Felixstowe line all the way, not just in passing places, so that not only does the Port of Felixstowe (and hence commerce generally in GB) but also the people of Felixstowe and those who would visit there for business or pleasure have improved regular access to the town and also to Ipswich and beyond. Get these priorities right and all else will flow from those benefits.

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