Train users in Beccles hear of upcoming developments

Beccles train station cafe.
PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Beccles train station cafe. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

From 2019 a fleet of new trains will transform East Suffolk rail services, with all trains formed of at least three carriages.

This news was given to a packed public meeting of the East Suffolk Travellers' Association (ESTA) in the Arthur Crisp Studio at Beccles station by James Steward, area customer services manager of Greater Anglia.

Though two years away, Mr Steward that further improvements will be made until that time.

At unstaffed stations, extra ticket vending machines would be installed, including an upgraded one at Beccles, and it would soon be possible to pay for a ticket with a contactless card.

Information totems would be installed on platforms, combining CCTV, help point, interactive screen and better information at times of engineering work.

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However, trains will still have conductors on guard to sell and check tickets and assist passengers.

ESTA Secretary Rod Lock presented the report of a survey of journeys made by the association's members during November.

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This had revealed a considerable number of cases where the train conductor did not have time to deal with all the passengers on a busy train.

On the other hand, nearly all members had found train staff and bus drivers very helpful.

Councillor Graham Elliott gave a presentation on the work which had been undertaken over the past three years to regenerate Beccles station, where the refurbished building now contained meeting rooms, offices and a cafe.

The train station refurbishment was the brainchild of Arthur Crisp whose family has owned the building for the past 20 years.

Mr Crisp died two years ago just as the project was getting off the mark.

Mr Elliot described the train station as a 'welcoming gateway to the town' and paid tribute to everyone who was involved in the regeneration process. Other improvements planned include a taxi hotline, while the crossroads by the station entrance required lights for pedestrians.

ESTA Chairman Trevor Garrod said that he hoped the progress made in transforming Beccles station would encourage people working for improvements at other stations on the East Suffolk line, such as Wickham Market, Saxmundham and Lowestoft.

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