The new chord will open to traffic from the start of April. It has been funded by the Strategic Freight Network fund with support from the EU Trans European Transport Network (TEN-T).
As previously reported, it provides a direct route to the main line for freight traffic from the Port of Felixstowe, avoiding the need to access and reverse in the sidings at Ipswich Yard. This improves efficiency and journey time for freight traffic and will help with performance management for the route. The chord is a key part of the planned upgrade to the route between Felixstowe and Nuneaton which is vital to support growth from the port.
Maggie Simpson,Executive Director, of the Rail Freight Group, said: The completion of this project is a major milestone in the upgrade of the Felixstowe to Nuneaton route, and a major engineering triumph for Network Rail and their contractors. We must now press forward with projects to upgrade and electrify the rest of the route, to create a new fit for purpose freight corridor from the port."
Clemence Cheng, Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited CEO, said: “The Port of Felixstowe already has a unique rail advantage. The 60 freight train movements we handle every day connects the port with 17 different inland destinations and offers shippers a frequency and range of services that are simply not available anywhere else.
“This latest development complements the opening of a new rail terminal at Felixstowe last year, our third at the port. The new terminal, and the Ipswich Chord, will allow a greater number of 30-wagon trains to operate from the port providing greater choice and lower carbon emissions for our customers.”
Rail volumes at the Port of Felixstowe reached record levels in 2013 when 830,000 TEU were handled at the port’s rail terminals.