December 9 2013 Latest news:
Anthony Carroll & Kathryn Bradley
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Calls have been made to resurrect the direct Lowestoft to London rail line when the next train operator franchise for the region is revealed.
The demand by Waveney MP Peter Aldous to revive the Lowestoft to Liverpool Street service, which stopped three years ago, came after the senior member of Suffolk County Council responsible for transport also called for the direct route to be reintroduced.
Graham Newman, cabinet member for roads and transport, outlined his vision for the future of public transport in the county as he attended a meeting of the passenger group the East Suffolk Travellers’ Association (Esta) as a guest speaker.
In the long-term he said he hoped for improved line capacity, a direct service from Lowestoft to London and increased line speeds between Lowestoft and Ipswich and Norwich and London.
After the meeting on Saturday, Mr Aldous also voiced his support for the reintroduction of direct service from the most easterly town in the country to its capital in the next rail franchise for the region from 2016.
Mr Aldous said: “I would ask the London to Lowestoft line be included in the next rail franchise. It is certainly something I want to see reintroduced.” Mr Aldous also supported Mr Newman’s call for train speeds to be increased to improve travelling times.
Rod Lock, secretary of Esta, said he supported the long-term aspiration expressed by Mr Newman at the meeting on Saturday to bring back the service, which was stopped before the current operator Greater Anglia took over the franchise, which runs until 2016.
Greater Anglia runs a service to London from Lowestoft via Ipswich and introduced an hourly service from Lowestoft to Ipswich along the £4m Beccles Loop.
At Saturday’s meeting Mr Newman said he would request the rail signalling at Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft, was looked at to reduce the time traffic had to wait at the level crossing there.
Mr Newman also said that ensuring rural areas still had a “backbone” bus service for residents was a priority.