Train won't take strain, festival told

PUBLISHED: 08:11 15 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:01 22 October 2010

Visitors to East Anglia's newest and biggest music festival have been warned not to rely on late trains to get them home.

Visitors to East Anglia's newest and biggest music festival have been warned not to rely on late trains to get them home.

Operator One told potential visitors to the Latitude Festival at Henham Park, near Southwold, that there would be no bigger or later trains to carry them back towards Ipswich or London at the end of event days.

The festival is being organised by Mean Fiddler, the company behind Galstonbury, and is expected to draw between 10,000 and 15,000 people.

A shuttle bus to ferry people between the rail station and the festival site is advertised on the event website.

But Peter Meads, a spokesman for One, said there was no flexibility in the way trains would run and warned that large volumes of people could not be accommodated.

“The trains on the East Suffolk line are all three carriages long because of the lengths of the platforms,” he said. “And we have a timetable that does not allow for extra trains because much of the line is single track.

“Because we have infrastructure restrictions, we are not able to change that timetable and it is the one that we will be running.

“And the last thing we want is people getting stranded at Halesworth Station,” he added.

The advice on the website suggests that using public transport would help cut congestion expected from thousands of cars visiting the site, which lies to the west of the A12 about half way between Southwold and Halesworth.

Hektor Rous, who manages the Henham Estate, said he was not anticipating any major problems with traffic.

“There will be less people than at the steam rally. I think this kind of people will take the opportunity to use public transport,” he said. “There will be a shuttle bus from Halesworth station. We are also offering combined coach and festival tickets.”

Melvin Benn, managing director of Mean Fiddler, said he didn't “see traffic being an issue” while the company's site manager said he did not work with a site that had “as many access points as Henham”.

Anne-Marie Breach, a spokeswoman for Suffolk Police, said it was expected that good traffic management, organised by Mean Fiddler teams and officers on the ground, would avert major congestion problems.

“Suffolk Police do have experience of big events and we are aware that the organisers have a lot of experience of handling these kinds of events as well,” she said.

She added that police regularly handled the Lowestoft Air Festival as well as the Suffolk Show and would put out warnings to other motorists to be aware of possible congestion.

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