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Plans for "Beccles loop" given boost

PUBLISHED: 17:21 17 July 2008 | UPDATED: 07:31 01 August 2010

THE long-sought after “Beccles loop”, which would double the frequency of trains on the Lowestoft to Ipswich line through Beccles Station, could soon be a reality.

THE long-sought after “Beccles loop”, which would double the frequency of trains on the Lowestoft to Ipswich line through Beccles Station, could soon be a reality.

Suffolk County Council has confirmed it will make a bid for regional funding in the autumn to see the construction of the £5m passing loop at Beccles Railway Station, which would allow for an hourly service from Beccles for commuters and shoppers.

The project has been in the pipeline since the 1980s, but if everything goes according to plan, improvement works could get under way in the next few years.

The news has been roundly greeted in Beccles, not least by John Brodribb who chairs the East Suffolk Line Community Rail Partnership and helps look after Beccles railway station.

He said: “It's extremely positive, because I think there is no question at all that the East Suffolk Line needs at least an hourly service between Lowestoft and Ipswich. It's been talked about for donkey's years.

“In many ways, it would be better to also have a double track from Beccles to Carlton Colville, because with just a loop there is the paradox that you run the risk of slowing the service down because trains have to wait for each other. But I'm very happy.”

Meanwhile, Beccles mayor David Smith said he thought it “could only

be good for the town,” especially with more and more people concerned with travelling in eco-friendly ways.

Rod Lock, secretary of the East Suffolk Travellers' Association, said 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.”

Suffolk County Council has given its backing to a long-fought campaign for a third crossing over Lake Lothing, in Lowestoft, 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 a bid for regional funding can be made at the end of the year.

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.

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