Beccles rail loop is on track to improve train service to Lowestoft
IT may not look like a major construction project.
But the new length of track being laid near Beccles railway station is a very welcome sight for train travellers.
Seen here from the air, it is clear that work is well under way on the long-awaited Beccles Loop – which will pave the way for hourly services on the East Suffolk line between Lowestoft and Ipswich.
Engineers from Network Rail began installing the new �4m passing loop in March, laying the new stretch of track alongside a disused platform to allow trains to pass in either direction.
At present there is only a single track between Halesworth and Oulton Broad, meaning trains cannot pass each other for more than 16 miles. But, as well as allowing hourly services between Ipswich and Lowestoft, the more frequent trains will give a boost to market towns on the line and provide a better connection to mainline services.
The scheme, which is being jointly funded by Network Rail and Suffolk County Council, has been welcomed by Waveney MP Peter Aldous, Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey, and the public transport pressure group, the East Suffolk Travellers Association (ESTA), which has pledged to continue pressing for improvements.
Track and signalling works will also be carried out by Network Rail in October as part of a wider �21m project to re-signal the East Suffolk Line to improve reliability and performance.
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Speaking at an ESTA meeting in mid-March, Jonathan Denby, head of corporate affairs at train operator Abellio Greater Anglia, said it was hoped the new hourly service would start in December, running Mondays to Saturdays. 'I really passionately believe that 2012 is going to be a fantastic year for the East Suffolk Line,' he said.