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Rail link funding boost

PUBLISHED: 11:50 15 July 2008 | UPDATED: 20:53 05 July 2010

A campaign to increase the frequency of train services between Lowestoft and London has received a major boost after transport chiefs revealed a bid for funding was to be made.

A campaign to increase the frequency of train services between Lowestoft and London has received a major boost after transport chiefs revealed a bid for funding was to be made.

The scheme to put a passing loop in the railway line between Beccles and Lowestoft - which would double the frequency of trains passing through and allow for an hourly service for commuters and shoppers - could take a significant step forward later this year, it emerged yesterday.

The £5m passing loop and plans to build another stretch of the Lowestoft northern spine road are both going to be put forward by Suffolk County Council for regional funding this autumn.

Both projects have been in the pipeline for several years and the bid for funding is an important step forward, which could see the improvement works get under way in the next few years.

Guy McGregor, the council's portfolio holder for roads and transport, said if the schemes were not submitted for consideration for funding this autumn, it would be another five years before a further round of proposals would be looked at.

He added that both projects were vital for improving transport links into and around Lowestoft.

Rod Lock, secretary of the East Suffolk Travellers' Association, said that any move to improve train services to and from Beccles would be welcomed. He added: “I'm very pleased and it is good news. We have been promised money from the county council in the past, but it has never materialised, so this would certainly be a move forward.”

Last week, Suffolk County Council also gave its backing to a long-fought campaign for a third crossing over Lake Lothing to relieve pressure on the town's bascule and Mutford Lock bridges.

The Highways Agency will complete a study by the autumn into where a third bridge should be sited so that a bid for regional funding can be made at the end of the year.

The new stretch of the Lowestoft northern spine road, joining the existing A1117 Millennium Way to the A12 Yarmouth Road, would create a much-needed route through the town, relieve congestion and take some traffic away from Bentley Drive.

Mr McGregor said that officials from the Highways Agency had already given provisional backing to the northern spine road scheme. “It is less than a mile of road, but would do a lot of good for traffic movement and congestion in Lowestoft,” he said.

A £30m relief road to divert traffic away from residential areas in the south of Lowestoft and ease congestion was opened in July 2006.

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