We're improving the Felixstowe branch line as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan so more goods can be transported by rail, supporting the growth of the British economy and reducing lorries on the road.

Freight trains at the Port of Felixstowe.

Network Rail is investing £65m to transform the single track Felixstowe branch line by installing 1.4km track loop near Trimley station. The Port of Felixstowe is also helping fund the upgrade. This additional track will allow the line to operate more effectively, giving the flexibility needed to run more freight trains as well as improve the reliability of existing passenger services.

The Felixstowe branch line serves the Port of Felixstowe, which is the largest container port in the UK.  The work on the branch line in this area will support up to 10 additional trains per day in each direction to move goods to and from the Port of Felixstowe. With each additional freight train taking the equivalent of up to 76 lorries off the roads, the upgrade works will help to reduce congestion and pollution for the local community and the wider region.

In addition to the track re-doubling, works will include the upgrade of several level crossings to make them safer and new bi-directional signalling infrastructure to support the demand for more freight trains. We will also be constructing a new bridleways bridge at Gun Lane to maintain safe public access across the railway. This will allow us to close six pedestrian level crossings in the Trimley area to improve safety. Once complete, there will be a more reliable service, improving journeys for all passengers.

Travel information for passengers

Work began in April 2018 and will take place most weekends until autumn 2019. To allow a safe environment to undertake the work for our engineers, buses will replace trains  between Ipswich and Felixstowe from 1850hrs Saturday evenings and all day Sunday when works are taking place. On Bank holidays, rail replacement bus services will be in place to allow passengers to complete their journey. Passengers wishing to travel during weekends are advised to check before they travel at www.nationalrail.co.uk or www.greateranglia.co.uk.

Authorisation to construct the additional track was secured by the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company in 2008 (by way of the Felixstowe Branch Line and Ipswich Yard Improvement Order 2008 and the Felixstowe Branch Line (Land Acquisition) Order 2014). These powers have now been formally transferred to Network Rail by the Secretary of State for Transport and the Port of Felixstowe (September 2017).

Find out more information about rail freight.

Level Crossing Upgrades – Thorpe Lane, Morston Hall, Levington, Westerfield

The level crossings at Morston Hall, Thorpe Lane, Levington and Westerfield have been upgraded to full barriers, three with obstacle detection systems and one with CCTV.

These modern level crossings provide additional safety for everyone wishing to cross the railway, either as a motorist or a pedestrian. This work was required owing to the expected increase in rail freight traffic using the line. 

All four crossings were closed to traffic and pedestrians for a number of weeks from early May 2019, and upgraded sequentially with the last crossing at Westerfield completed and re-opened on 15 July 2019.

Felixstowe Branch Line Level Crossings Closure and Bridleway Bridge Construction

In addition to the powers to build the track we have also been granted the powers to build a  new bridleway bridge across the railway at Gun Lane and close six pedestrian level crossings in the Trimley area. The new bridleway bridge will maintain safe public access across the railway for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. It has been designed with consideration to the environment  including local ecology as well as landscape and visual amenity to:

  • reduce the amount of land required
  • reduce the ecological impact
  • reduce visual impact
  • reduce the time taken to construct
  • make the bridge suitable and safe for users.

The powers to build the new bridleway bridge and close six level crossings were granted in August 2018.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this project, please contact us by visiting our contact us page or by calling our 24-hour national helpline on 03457 11 41 41.