NEWS

ESTA studied Greater Anglia's proposals for the December 2021 rail timetable and sent in detailed comments. We welcome the intention to continue a train every hour, seven days a week, on the Ipswich - Lowestoft and Lowestoft - Norwich lines. Some suggestions which we made included improved connections at certain points in the day, a later southbound train in the evening and a possible later northbound train at least as far as Saxmundham.

We also called for some additional stops at Westerfield, notably northbound in the late afternoon or early evening; and all day on Saturdays and Sundays. This should be introduced for a 2-year trial period, provided that reliable connections with main line trains at Ipswich are maintained.

Our association has, however, voiced considerable concern that there is no commitment in the consultation document to run any through trains between Lowestoft and London Liverpool Street, despite the promise made when the operator bid for the franchise. We urge that this promise be honoured - even if only initially for two trains each way per day. Lowestoft is one of only two large towns in East Anglia which has no through services to the capital. The bi-mode trains were introduced specifically to enable such services to run and through trains will benefit both local people and visitors to the area.

ESTA has also responded to a further consultation on the proposed Sizewell C power station. This further consultation was launched in late November following earlier responses showing a public demand for more of the construction traffic to go by rail. In our response this time we welcomed the intention to make more use of rail, but stressed that this must not be at the expense of the passenger service. There must also be investment in improving capacity on the line south of Saxmundham; and the track through Leiston must be retained for possible future reopening to passengers. Funding of improvements to the infrastructure south of Saxmundham could come from a number of different sources, one of which should obviously be the company building the power station.

We look forward to the launch of the electric minibus/taxi service between Wickham Market station (in Campsea Ashe) and Framlingham, scheduled for May 17th. We shall do our best to promote this and to encourage local train and bus usage again as the lockdown restrictions are eased.

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