Train times review launched

RAIL users were last night urged to give their views on a shake-up of train timetables that will see a change in service for many passengers.

From December, National Express East Anglia (NXEA) will be withdrawing its through trains between Lowestoft and Liverpool Street – forcing passengers to change at Ipswich.

However, passengers on the southern half of the route will benefit from a new hourly service between Saxmundham and Ipswich.

The East Suffolk Travellers Association (ESTA) wants to protect the through services to London and is urging people to fill out a survey both before and after the changes so they can see the effect it has on journeys. Rod Lock, ESTA secretary, said: 'We are interested in finding out peoples' views. The proposals are a bit of a double-edged sword. Those wanting to go to or from Lowestoft will be inconvenienced because they will have to change at Ipswich. If given the chance, we would want to get those reinstated.

'However, on the line south of Saxmundham – such as Wickham Market or Woodbridge – we've been told they should receive a better service.

'We'd like to know what passengers think of the changes and are asking them to fill out the survey.'

A spokeswoman for NXEA said: 'There will be major benefits for passengers on the southern half of the route as we introduce an hourly service between Saxmundham and Ipswich – effectively doubling the service for much of the day. Two additional morning peak services will also run from Lowestoft to Ipswich. Customers travelling between Lowestoft and London will need to change at Ipswich, but we have developed the timetable with the intention that connections should be straightforward.'

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She said the process of changing trains should be easier as more staff would be employed at Ipswich station, and a new footbridge with lifts is due to open at the end of March.

'Looking ahead, we are working with Network Rail and Suffolk County Council to try to ensure the funding and installation of Beccles Loop.'

To take part in the ESTA survey or for information visit www.eastsuffolktravel.org.uk.

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