Cutting trains may hit house prices
HOUSE prices in east Suffolk could fall if the direct rail service between Lowestoft and London is scrapped, a train users group has said.Train operator National Express East Anglia is carrying out a wide-spread consultation on the future of its services, including looking at getting rid of the direct Lowestoft to London Liverpool Street service and making all passengers change at Ipswich.
HOUSE prices in east Suffolk could fall if the direct rail service between Lowestoft and London is scrapped, a train users group has said.
Train operator National Express East Anglia is carrying out a wide-spread consultation on the future of its services, including looking at getting rid of the direct Lowestoft to London Liverpool Street service and making all passengers change at Ipswich.
Now the East Suffolk Travellers Association (ESTA) is asking local estate agents whether property prices along the line, which passes through Oulton Broad, Beccles and Halesworth, were affected when the direct service was introduced in 2004 and whether the reverse may occur if the service is pulled.
National Express East Anglia announced earlier this year that it would be receiving 188 extra carriages for local routes which could improve the service between Ipswich and London.
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However the direct trains from Lowestoft through to London would be scrapped, with all passengers having to change in Ipswich.
ESTA secretary Rod Lock said the group, which has 450 members, believes house prices would be affected if there are no longer any direct trains running to London Liverpool Street from north east Suffolk.
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He said: 'We've written to estate agents in towns along the line. The response we've had so far is that the availability of through trains to London did increase the number of people wanting to move into the area.
'We will certainly be including this in our consultation response, as it is something which should be considered.'
As well as altering the east Suffolk service, National Express East Anglia's proposals include introducing extra carriages for peak time Norwich to London trains, providing an extra morning and evening peak service between Norwich and Yarmouth and offering some faster morning services between Norwich and London Liverpool Street.
The consultation will also look at the possibility of introducing hourly trains between Lowestoft and Ipswich if the Beccles passing loop is built.
Currently there is only a single stretch of track between Lowestoft and Saxmundham, meaning that trains can only run every two hours because there is nowhere for them to pass. If the passing loop is constructed, an extra early morning peak service may run from Lowestoft to Ipswich.
National Express East Anglia's public consultation on the proposed changes finishes on September 11.