The main things you may find of interest concern local transport: the Sunday bus has been extended, the consultation document for the next rail franchise is out for consultation, and they are looking at closing some of Suffolk’s rail crossings
Restored Sunday bus starts this weekend, 14 January
We have heard that the 65b will not only be retained at least until March but will also now run 5 times a day in each direction from this weekend, with the service extended out to Melton. The timetable has now come out : the first bus from Ipswich arrives at the Turban Centre at 9.33, with the first bus into Ipswich departing at 9.46. The last Sunday bus back from Ipswich leaves at 16.45.
Rail consultation: and particularly Ipswich to Peterborough Passenger Service
The East Anglia Rail Franchise Consultation Document is currently open for consultation on the rail options that will be included within the franchise Invitation to Tender https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/east-anglia-rail-passenger-franchise
Worryingly one proposal is to limit the current Ipswich to Peterborough passenger train service to Ely, with a potential change at Ely station for onward journeys to Peterborough, meaning Suffolk could potentially be left with a two-hourly direct train to Ely as its gateway to the North and West.. This is an even worse service than the very poor service that is currently on offer.
The Ipswich – Peterborough service provides Suffolk with a vital link to Stansted airport (via Ely), the Midlands, North East, North West and Scotland. Without it, journeys would have to be routed via London. It is critical that – instead of a reduction – this service is made an hourly one.
I do hope that WoodbridgeTown Council will respond to the consultation on behalf of the town. I will, of course, be replying as the County Councillor.
Closing rail crossings
Network Rail’s Anglia route asset management team is reviewing the safety of all level crossings, working with the county council and other organisations on a crossing by crossing basis. This will include those in Woodbridge.
SCC’s Cabinet member tells me “No list for level crossing closures has been drawn up by the county council and no definitive list of level crossing closures has been shared by Network Rail (although a separate piece of work has been undertaken by the Great Eastern Mainline Taskforce to look at the whole of the mainline between Norwich and London to identify what interventions would be needed to increase train speeds). The closure of level crossings could not happen without extensive consultation with local residents and other stakeholders, and strong evidence to suggest that the crossing should be closed. SCC wants to see safer level crossings and faster travel times on the county’s railways. We will work with Network Rail to ensure the right balance is struck between safety, travel times and accessibility when proposals are put forward to close individual level crossings.”
County Councillor Surgeries
My first surgery takes place on 17 January. The next few dates are: 21 February, 21 March and 18 April. Surgeries continue to take place in the Woodbridge Library 10-12noon. No booking is necessary.