Transport lobby group discusses Lowestoft, Beccles and Southwold links

A CAMPAIGN group has pledged to continue its fight to improve transport links in Waveney's towns and villages.

The East Suffolk Travellers' Association (ESTA) issued its rallying cry following its annual general meeting which was held in Woodbridge on Saturday.

A presentation was shown at the meeting by Network Rail who are due to begin resignalling work on the rail line between Ipswich and Lowestoft with a passing loop at Beccles.

The organisation stated the improvements would see commuters enjoying a more frequent and reliable service.

Trevor Garrod, chairman of ESTA, said: 'Once the resignalling is complete, then we should have a better system from Ipswich to Lowestoft.

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'What we were also interested in from the Network Rail presentation was that the resignalling will also allow for a possible second line, a passing loop at Wickham Market.

'Our first step is to promote the new service when it is in operation because it will be the most frequent service since the 1960s.'

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The group insisted they were delighted that the rail line would improve services for some commuters.

However, they said they would not be resting on their laurels as they pushed for better services in other places, particularly for areas like Southwold.

Mr Garrod added: 'Our next goal is to improve the capacity at the second half of the line.

'It is a much more positive future for the line, but we won't stop here.

'We take encouragement from what Network Rail are doing, but we are looking forward as to what future improvements we can then look for.'

As well as improvements to the rail line, campaigners also called for a better bus service between different towns and villages in east Suffolk.

Mr Garrod revealed that a number of villages were difficult to reach by bus, particularly in the evenings and weekends.

While improvements have been made for some bus services, such as in Southwold, Mr Garrod believes there is still a lot of work to do to improve other services.

He pledged to work hard to see a better service implemented.

He said: 'There is now a better service between Halesworth and Southwold and this summer we shall be promoting that service.

'Last year it was virtually impossible to have a day out at Southwold because of the transport.

'Looking at places like Aldeburgh, Leiston and Framlingham, they do still have problems particularly in the evenings and weekends.

'So we shall continue to take every opportunity to lobby the county council to provide funding so the bus service can operate in those areas.'

Mr Garrod believes an improved transport service is pivotal to seeing Suffolk's resorts and towns prosper as he urged residents to make use of the services that were now on offer.

He said: 'Our region has traditionally depended for part of its economy on tourism and so the more accessible the regions, the more we can attract visitors to the area.

'A lot can still be done to get people around the region even if some services are not as frequent as what we would like.

'It's very much a question of 'use it or lose it' and if that's successful, I think we are in a stronger position to press for better bus services in the other parts of the area that we deal with.'

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