Direct west to north route for freight trains
Transport minister Stephen Hammond was in Ipswich on 21 March to see the newly completed 1.2km stretch of railway built by Network Rail to increase capacity for freight trains and ease a major bottleneck affecting passenger services on the Great Eastern main line.
The £59m Ipswich chord – which includes four new bridges, two new embankments, a 413m retaining wall and 1.2km of new track and signalling equipment – has been built on the site of the former Harris bacon factory to the north of Ipswich station and goods yard.
From 31 March, the new link will remove the need for freight trains travelling to and from the Port of Felixstowe to use the sidings adjacent to Ipswich station as a turning point, eliminating a major bottleneck on the busy Great Eastern main line and freeing up capacity for both passenger and freight services. The improved layout will also mean improved punctuality and performance on the Anglia route.
By 2030, it is estimated that the increased rail capacity provided by the new link will have helped remove at least 750,000 lorry journeys from the A14 each year.
The project was co-financed by the European Union Trans European Transport Network (TEN-T).