Transport minister needs Sizewell C plan before more East Suffolk rail upgrades will be considered
- Credit: Archant
Sizewell C could be the 'catalyst' to improvements on the East Suffolk railway line, the rail minister has said.
Paul Maynard, who has been urged by Waveney MP Peter Aldous to start formulating a plan to cutt journey times to and from Lowestoft, said there was currently no immediate case for investment, but if the new nuclear power station is built, the debate could change.
He said Department for Transport would consider how passenger services could be improved once EDF's plans were clear and they expected costs 'directly linked to construction' to be paid by EDF.
Mr Aldous told MPs the railway could deliver supplies to the new Sizewell C project to help minimise disruption to people living locally.
But he said improvements needed to take place well in advance of construction of the power plant - which is expected to start in the next three years.
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He urged the government to upgrade the line between Lowestoft and Ipswich, telling the Westminster Hall debate that it takes longer to get to London on a through service than it did in 1904 on a special seaside journey.
Mr Aldous said the 90 minute journey from Lowestoft to Ipswich was a 'disincentive' for people to take the train.
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The Waveney MP said initial work to upgrade the line needed to be started straight away as it would need consideration and consultation.
He said: 'I see a great future for the East Suffolk line, which can help to bring a better quality of life, jobs and prosperity to the whole east Suffolk region. However, that will not happen on its own; we need to kick-start it. We need to plan for it and have a business plan in place. Time is of the essence, particularly with Sizewell C and the need for better freight facilities serving the port of Felixstowe.'