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New hope for rail line loop

PUBLISHED: 12:29 08 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:27 05 July 2010

The campaign for hourly direct trains between Lowestoft and London has stepped up after train operator National Express East Anglia backed a scheme for a passing loop at Beccles.

The campaign for hourly direct trains between Lowestoft and London has stepped up after train operator National Express East Anglia backed a scheme for a passing loop at Beccles.

Train users have called for a loop to be put in place for nearly 30 years, and now National Express has joined Network Rail, which owns the railway, in getting behind the £5m project.

At present there is only single track between Beccles and Lowestoft, so trains cannot pass one another until they are about 20 miles down the line.

A passing loop - an extra stretch of track allowing a London-bound train to pass one travelling to Lowestoft - would mean the frequency of services could be doubled to offer hourly, direct trains to Liverpool Street from Oulton Broad, Beccles, Brampton, Halesworth and Darsham.

Representatives of National Express have just met Waveney MP Bob Blizzard at Westminster and have given their backing. In September, Network Rail announced it had made a £25,000 study of the project that confirmed there was a good business case and that it would benefit travellers.

The MP said: “Following my meeting with National Express, I am now extremely hopeful that the Beccles loop will be constructed in the near future.

“I was told that the East Suffolk line has to be re-signalled. National Express sees this as an opportunity that makes sense to construct the passing loop at the same time. I believe that Network Rail is close to giving the go-ahead. I have been pushing for this rail improvement for many years, and this is the most positive response I have ever had.”

National Express described the talks as positive, adding “We will continue to work with Mr Blizzard, Network Rail and other key stakeholders in facilitating the way forward towards such a development.”

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