7:45 p.m. May 22, 2022
One MP has called for investment to help reduce journey times on popular rail routes.
Waveney MP Peter Aldous made calls for upgrading the Wherry and East Suffolk branch lines during a debate in the House of Commons.
Mr Aldous told the debate, titled East Suffolk and Wherry Railway Lines, last Thursday evening (May 19), that if ‘the right investment’ is secured now it ‘can bring major benefits and employment opportunities to communities throughout both lines in both East Suffolk and East Norfolk.”
According to the latest passenger figures, Mr Aldous said last month “the number on both routes was up 19%” compared to the equivalent period in 2019.
With the Wherry Line linking Norwich to Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, Mr Aldous said journey times on the East Suffolk line from Lowestoft to Ipswich had not decreased since it opened 163 years ago.
He said: “There are concerns that the East Suffolk line and the Wherry line – which are east of Ipswich and east of Norwich respectively – are being left out and not being properly integrated with the rest of the rail network. national. .
“These are not just spur lines like something out of ‘The Titfield Thunderbolt’ but vital economic arteries serving growing communities and deserve investment.”
Despite ‘some significant improvements’ to the East Suffolk and East Norfolk branch lines over the past 12 years, Mr Aldous said he was concerned that ‘perhaps attention to the network has been diverted elsewhere”.
Mr Aldous said he wanted to see Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth linked more directly to improved networks in London and East Midland.
With new, faster trains running the lines since 2019, he said timetables also needed to be reassessed.
In response, Transport Minister Wendy Morton said she understood the importance of connectivity with Lowestoft and the call for direct services to London.
‘I absolutely recognize the importance of the East Suffolk and Wherry railway lines,’ she said.
“We must continue to look for opportunities to make further improvements to infrastructure and our railways in the region.”