Rail firm could close crossings to speed up line

Gipsy Lane railway crossing in Needham Market ANL-141211-105048001
Gipsy Lane railway crossing in Needham Market ANL-141211-105048001
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Network Rail has outlined plans to improve safety and speed up the London to Norwich rail line – with the possibility of closing several railway crossings across mid Suffolk.

MP David Ruffley has written to parish councils across his constituency to gather local opinion on the proposals.

It comes weeks after Network Rail published a report outlining a five-year plan for the line, including options to upgrade signalling technology, building a ‘loop track’ at Haughley to split passenger and freight lines and building additional platforms at Liverpool Street Station.

Mr Ruffley said: “Several crossings in parish council areas across my Bury St Edmunds constituency may potentially be closed.

“These include Bacton, Finningham, Gislingham, Haughley, Mellis, Needham Market Town , Stowmarket Town and old Newton with Dagworth and Gipping.

“I would like to know what the views are on these suggestions so that I can accurately represent them to Network Rail at the very highest level.”

A Network Rail spokeswoman said the aim of the proposals was to accomodate huge growth in demand from passengers and to reduce journey times between London and Norwich to 90 minutes.

She said: “Network Rail will also continue its work to close crossings where it can to make the railway safer and increase linespeeds.

“Some schemes, such as the one at Gipsy Lane (Needham Market), are already in development and we are working with Suffolk County Council to further investigate the possibility of an underpass.”