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  • Felixstowe-Nuneaton freight upgrade

    We’ve upgraded the route from Felixstowe to Nuneaton to move more freight off the roads and onto the railway

  • Graphic representation of a freight train compared to 50 lorries worth of cargo - it shows that each freight train can typically take around 50 lorry journeys off the road and thus helping the environment


    What the upgrade involved

    We carried out gauge enhancement work between Peterborough and Nuneaton to enable the route to carry the larger, 9’ 6” containers preferred by the international shipping industry. We completed this work in 2011.

    To increase freight capacity between Ipswich and Peterborough we have:

    • Built the Ipswich ‘chord’ – a 1km stretch of track north of the Ipswich goods yard, which links the East Suffolk and Great Eastern lines. Completed in March 2014
    • Added two 775m sections of track east of Ely station to enable better regulation of trains through the junctions at Ely. Completed in 2014
    • Built the Nuneaton North chord, a flyover north of Nuneaton station that allows freight trains from Peterborough to join the West Coast Main Line without affecting passenger services. Completed in October 2012.

    The benefits

    A more reliable service

    Freight trains taking large containers from Felistowe to the Midlands, North West and Scotland no longer have to go down the busy Great Eastern main line, through London and then up the West Coast main line to reach these destinations. They now have a much more direct and faster journey, with minimum impact on passenger services.

    This improved journey, along with increased capacity, will help to generate growth in the region’s shipping-related businesses and support services.

    More freight capacity

    The improvements have more than doubled the number of container freight trains using the route each day and also enabled longer trains to use it.

    Environmentally friendly

    More of the growing number of freight containers coming to the port of Felixstowe can now be transported by rail instead of road. This reduces CO2 emissions by 76%.

    Less lorry traffic on busy roads

    By stimulating growth in rail freight, the improvements could mean 750,000 fewer lorry journeys a year by 2030. This will significantly reduce pressure on congested roads such as the A14 from Felixstowe to Rugby, where congestion costs the region £80m each year.