Network Rail plans to build a new 1km stretch of track, or ‘chord’ line, north of Ipswich goods yard, linking the East Suffolk line and Great Eastern main line on part of the site of the former Harris meat factory.
Today, most of Anglia’s freight trains that need to travel from the Port of Felixstowe to the north have to travel down the busy Great Eastern main line, through London and up the West Coast main line to save having to turn around in the sidings adjacent to Ipswich station in order to use the shorter cross-country Felixstowe to Nuneaton route. The Ipswich Chord will remove that bottleneck and free up capacity for both passenger and freight services.
Once this work and Network Rail’s other enhancements of the line from Felixstowe to Nuneaton via Ipswich, Ely and Peterborough are complete in 2014, the route will provide more direct journeys for freight trains travelling from the Port of Felixstowe to the Midlands, north-west and Scotland, and the potential for faster freight journeys to Yorkshire. Improving the railway from Felixstowe to Nuneaton involves a new flyover north of Nuneaton station to allow freight trains from Peterborough to join the West Coast Main Line without the need to cross it at grade.
Now the IPC has given its validation, Network Rail has made all the application documents available on its web site, along with details of the examination process and how to get involved. The documents and further information are also available on the Network Rail website at www.networkrail.co.uk/felixstowe-nuneaton.
If the plans are approved, work on the scheme should start in 2012 and be completed in early 2014.