Second phase completed for removing major bottleneck in Ipswich

Second phase completed for removing major bottleneck in Ipswich

A vital part of the Ipswich rail chord project which will provide more capacity for freight and fewer delays for passengers was delivered over the Christmas break moving the project a step closer to completion.

Network Rail, working with contractors Spencer Rail Limited, successfully demolished and removed the old steel bridge weighing 190 tonnes over the River Gipping, replacing it with a new steel deck bridge at the start of the new junction for the chord.

Other work included:

*  Breaking the old bridge into the three sections using a 1000 ton crane
*  Removed the existing track and ballast stones
*  Installed concrete walls of the new bridge lifted into place using cranes
*  Installed new tracks and junction for the new Chord linking the East Suffolk line and the London Liverpool Street to Norwich line
*  Network Rail is building a new 1.2km stretch of track, or ‘chord’, north of Ipswich goods yard linking the East Suffolk line and Great Eastern main line on part of the site of the former Harris meat factory.

The chord will remove the need for freight trains travelling to and from the Port of Felixstowe to use the sidings adjacent to Ipswich station as a turning point, eliminating a major bottleneck on the busy Great Eastern main line and freeing up capacity for both passenger and freight services.

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Richard Schofield, route managing director, Network Rail, said: “Demand for railway travel continues to grow and this project demonstrates our commitment to invest in the railway to support growth.

“It is vital that we create additional capacity alongside other enhancements along the cross country route between Felixstowe and Nuneaton. This is a key part of our plans to take more freight off roads and onto rail and is good news for the region’s economy.”

The project is set to be completed by April 2014, and includes the completion of four new bridges, two new embankments, a 350m retaining wall, 1.2km of new track and signaling equipment, and improvements to the existing over head line equipment.

The chord forms an important part of Network Rail’s strategic freight network, a programme of investment to improve freight capacity across Britain’s railway.