East Suffolk Line is an un-electrified secondary
railway line running between Ipswich and Lowestoft. A two-hourly passenger service is operated by
National Express East
Anglia and freight services also use the line; timber is hauled
by EWS and nuclear flasks for Leiston (for the
nuclear power stations) are carried by Direct Rail Services.
The towns and villages on the line are listed below.
The current service is well used and operates a two-hourly service.
The extensive sections of single track make it impossible to
increase the frequency and studies have been made as to how to
adapt the line to allow a more frequent service. Proposals for a
passing loop at Beccles, costed at between £500K and
£4 million are now at an advanced stage. If completed it would
allow an hourly service to be operated between Lowestoft and
In about 1847 the Ipswich & Bury Railway had secured the rights
to built the line from Ipswich to Woodbridge but works were delayed
for financial reasons. The Ipswich & Bury Railway was absorbed
by then Eastern Union Railway
Halesworth, Beccles & Haddiscoe Railway was incorporated in
1851 and the first section of the East Suffolk line from Beccles to Halesworth was constructed by Peto Brassey & Betts.
The East Suffolk railway, which had been incorporated on 3 July
1854, took over the powers of the Halesworth, Beccles &
Haddiscoe Railway and the route opened on the 4 December 1854.
continued north to Haddiscoe on what is now part of the Wherry Lines.
On the 1
June 1859 the line was opened as far south as Ipswich and north to
Beccles to Lowestoft branch line was opened in the same year.
The Eastern Union Railway was amagamated with other companies into
the Great Eastern Railway
Great Yarmouth section was closed in 1959, exactly one hundred
years after it had been opened.
The rest of the line was
then threatened with complete closure as part of the Beeching Axe
in the early 1960s.
Parts of remaining line were reduced to single-track in 1984 and
through trains to London were discontinued at that time.
The line was privatised in 1997 when the franchise was awarded to
who operated it
until April 2004 when National Express East Anglia
won the replacement franchise operating under the brand name 'One'
until February 2008.
Under Network Rail
planning the line is
part of Strategic Route
7.The section between Ipswich and Westerfield is a part of SRS
07.12 and is classified as
secondary line with the remainder of the line being part of SRS
07.11 and classified as rural.
The line is double-track from Ipswich to Woodbridge and from
Saxmundham to Halesworth with the rest of the route being single
track. The line is not electrified
, has a
between Ipswich and Westerfield and W6 for all other sections, and
a line speed of between 40-75 mph.
The section from Westerfield to Oulton Broad is signalled using
Radio Electronic Token
controlled from Saxmundham, and is the only line in
England to use this system (the system is used elsewhere in the UK
in Scotland and Wales).
Passenger services are operated by diesel multiple units
. Most are Class 170 and on Monday-Saturday
these usually operate direct to London Liverpool Street.
Almost all other trains are Class 156
and occasionally Class 153