Further boost for rail travel in east Suffolk

Halesworth railway station which is to be equipped with an automatic ticket machine and CCTV.

Halesworth railway station which is to be equipped with an automatic ticket machine and CCTV. - Credit: Archant

Abellio Greater Anglia and Suffolk County Council are to jointly fund a new automatic ticket vending machine and CCTV at Halesworth rail station.

The new machine, along with CCTV, will be installed on the Lowestoft bound platform later this year and means that, for the first time, passengers will be able to purchase their train tickets before they travel and even collect tickets which they have bought online.

The installation of the new ticket machine and CCTV has been part-funded by Suffolk County Council and the Designated Community Rail Development Fund, following successful ticket machine installation last year at other East Suffolk Line stations between Ipswich and Lowestoft with the support of the East Suffolk Community Rail Partnership.

The new Scheidt & Bachmann card only machine will be equipped with the most up-to-date and customer-friendly screen layout helping to simplify the method for ticket purchase by reducing the number of steps to complete a ticket transaction. It will also comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act.

When purchasing a ticket, the screen will display relevant information concerning any travel restrictions that may apply to a particular ticket type, helping to ensure that customers are easily able to purchase the correct and most appropriate ticket for their intended journey.

The new machine will allow customers to purchase tickets before they board the train, or collect a wider range of prepaid tickets purchased through the Abellio Greater Anglia app or other websites, and will accept all Abellio Greater Anglia Card Scheme accepted bank cards.

The installation of CCTV in conjunction with this investment will mean that passengers will be able to purchase tickets and wait for trains in a more secure environment.

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The initiative is aimed at improving the service offered to customers at some of the busier rural stations which do not have a ticket office and means that Halesworth will join the stations at Woodbridge, Saxmundham and Beccles on the East Suffolk Line equipped with a ticket machine.

Jonathan Denby, Abellio Greater Anglia’s Head of Corporate Affairs, said: “The new ticket machine will make ticket purchasing much easier for passengers, in addition to the print-at-home and mobile ticketing options we have made available along the East Suffolk line, and the installation of CCTV will enhance customers’ feelings of safety and security while they wait for trains. We are grateful for the support of Suffolk County Council and Designated Community Rail Fund in taking this customer and community-focused improvement forward.”

Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for roads, transport and planning, said: “Suffolk County Council is delighted to be supporting Abellio Greater Anglia with the provision of a new ticket vending machine at Halesworth.

“Investment in this type of facility demonstrates our mutual continued commitment to improving Suffolk’s stations. It improves the customer experience and encourages more people to use the train.

“Halesworth - as one of the principle stations on the East Suffolk network - was a key priority for being equipped with such a machine, given the fact that we now have an hourly Ipswich to Lowestoft train service, and passenger numbers continue to show year-on-year increases.”

This latest improvement for the popular East Suffolk Line comes after Abellio Greater Anglia completed a £3 million refurbishment of the two-carriage Class 156 vehicles that operate on the line earlier this year.

The fleet of nine trains received a complete interior overhaul, including new carpets, dado panels, seat covers and a deep clean as well as the installation of a new passenger information system which delivers automatic announcements and a universal access toilet.