The data suggests that there has been engineering disruption to rail services from Ipswich to London across 35% of weekends over the past year. All I can say is it certainly feels like more than that. At times catching a reliable train at the weekends from Ipswich has felt like a bit of a novelty.
I appreciate that engineering works do need to be carried out from time to time, but I’m not convinced that no stone is left unturned when it comes to minimising disruption for my constituents who wish to use the train service at the weekend. Recent trends seem to confirm that actually the difference between those looking to travel during the week and at weekends is narrowing. Consistently unreliable train services at weekends is not cost free!
All of this disruption linked to rail engineering works is just compounded at the moment by the effects of all the strike action. I met with representatives from Greater Anglia and Network Rail last week to discuss and raise some of my concerns.
A real issue with the rail network though is our poor rail infrastructure. Haughley junction and Ely North junction are two crucial projects that should have been delivered many years ago. It’s crucial that the Department for Transport really starts to prioritise both projects, and I will intensify my efforts to convince the Government of the merits. Delivering both projects would greatly increase the capacity of the rail network in the East and lead to a significant improvement in the reliability and speed of train services and would also mean that things like an hourly service between Ipswich and Peterborough could be delivered.
I have frequent contact with both Greater Anglia and Network Rail, so please let me know if ever there is a specific issue you would like me to raise with them.