£4m scheme for hourly train service between Ipswich and Lowestoft

Image caption An hourly train service could operate between Lowestoft and Ipswich from December

An hourly train service could be introduced between Ipswich and Lowestoft by the end of the year.

The service currently runs every two hours, partly because of the single track stretching 16 miles between Halesworth and Oulton Broad.

Work has begun on a £4m scheme to lay about 390 metres of new track, known as a 'passing loop'.

A platform at Beccles station will also reopen in a scheme financed by Network Rail and Suffolk County Council.

Dave Ward, Network Rail route managing director, said: "Enabling more services will mean that people living along the East Suffolk line will be better connected to the main line."

He said further works will be carried out in October. A re-signalling project, costing £21m, will attempt to improve reliability.

Conservative councillor Guy McGregor, portfolio holder for transport at Suffolk County Council, said the hourly service between Ipswich and Lowestoft would bring "economic and environmental benefits to the region".

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