The Anonymous Widower

Ipswich To Felixstowe Has Improved

Over the last few months, I’ve travelled half a dozen times between Ipswich and Felixstowe by train.

I can’t remember a train being late at all, since the Bacon Factory Curve has been opened.

And here’s why!

A Freight Train Waiting On The Bacon Factory Curve

A Freight Train Waiting On The Bacon Factory Curve

Note the freight train waiting for our one-coach Class 153 to pass. Before the curve opened the freight train would have had to go into Ipswich yard and the locomotive would have had to run-round to the other end, causing all sorts of disruption to the Great Eastern Main Line and especially the Felixstowe Branch.

Also now I noticed that trains coming out of Felixstowe and going South towards London, now sometimes seem to get their diesel locomotive changed for a Class 90 electric one.

The next improvement will come when more of the Felixstowe branch line is double-tracked and the whole branch is electrified.

It’s all a far cry from when I lived in Felixstowe in the 1960s, where the most reliable way to get between the two towns was to cycle along the A45 or A14 as it is now! There were only a handful of trains every day.

How many other places on the UK network need smaller improvements like the Bacon Factory Curve to be implemented?

November 4, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Bacon Factory Curve At Work

I took this picture from an Ipswich to Cambridge train.

Freight Trains On The Bacon Factory Curve

Freight Trains On The Bacon Factory Curve

It shows how the Bacon Factory Curve is working.

The train on the left is held on the curve itself, whilst the train on the right is proceeding towards Felixstowe.

In contrast to months ago, my train was not delayed and went straight past the junction.

September 17, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

The Bacon Factory Curve Opens

The BBC are reporting that the Bacon Factory Curve or the Ipswich Chord to give it its official name, is now open. Here’s the summary.

A new £59m railway giving the Port of Felixstowe a direct link to the Midlands is opening to freight.

Until now freight trains have had to travel in to Ipswich and then out again, adding a hour to journeys.

Hopefully, this small piece of track will improve timekeeping of trains that pass through or by the junction.

As I first posted about this curve in February 2013, construction has been pretty fast.

Have the government and Network Rail decided that lots of small projects can improve the efficiency of the railway significantly?

April 14, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment

The Bridge Over The Gipping

I took this picture of the bridge that has been built to take the Bacon Factory Curve over the River Gipping.

The Bridge Over The Gipping

The Bridge Over The Gipping

The works seem to be getting on well and there were gangs of men laying the concrete sleepers for the two tracks, as I passed.

February 6, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

More Progress On The Bacon Factory Curve

The Bacon Factory Curve at Ipswich is progressing well.

I should be going back to the dentist in the Spring, so it will be interesting to see the progress as it is slated from completion next year.

December 4, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Freight Trains At Ipswich

On my trip to the dentist in Felixstowe yesterday, I changed trains at Ipswich. There was a wonderful example of the problems that the Bacon Factory Curve is designed to eliminate, as two freight trains going to and from London, passed through the station at the same time.

One thing that worries me, is that these trains were going through a busy station, where lots of people were waiting for trains like I was. Is this a good idea from a Health and Safety point of view?

Many of these trains, are routed by the North London and Gospel Oak to Barking lines to complete their journey.

When the curve is fully operational, they will go on a more direct route, via Stowmarket and Peterborough.

But will those who live on that line be complaining of very noisy Class 66 locomotives at all hours of the day and night?

Incidentally, as a lot less freight trains will be travelling to or from London, they should be able to use the direct line through Ipswich station, which is between the main lines used by passenger trains to stop at platforms 2 and 3. This will certainly make things less frightening and probably a lot safer.

December 4, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Norwich In Ninety

I travel regularly on the Great Eastern Main Line to Ipswich and have used the line since the 1970s, when we lived just north of Ipswich.

In those years, there has been very little improvement in journey times, although the trains are newer and perhaps slightly more comfortable.

So I was interested to find this report on the Treasury’s web site. Here’s the first paragraph.

Plans for a new expert group charged with finding ways to speed up rail services to the East of England by as much as 25% have been set out by the Chancellor.

Personally, I will be pleased if the speed improvement to Norwich, is matched on my shorter journey to Ipswich.

At present Ipswich and Norwich take 67 and 110 minutes respectively on a typical train. If Norwich were to be reached in ninety minutes, then Ipswich should be a few minutes or so under the magic figure of one hour.

Given that these trains would probably interface to Crossrail at \Shenfield, Stratford and Liverpool Street, it should be possible to go from Ipswich to Heathrow in under a hundred minutes. The Norwich figure would be two hours ten minutes.

I would think that this could be one of those small improvements, that show a very high return on the money invested. At least the line is fully electrified and all of the major stations can accept long high-capacity trains.

The major problem of delays caused by freight trains going to and from Felixstowe is also being solved with the Bacon Factory Curve, so I’m hopeful that by the end of this decade, we’ll be seeing much reduced journey times to East Anglia.

Will we also be seeing more electrication in East Anglia, like Ely to Norwich and Ipswich to Peterborough? I doubt it, although the latter would really help with the movement of freight out of Felixstowe.

November 16, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 4 Comments

Fall Out From A Train Crash

On the fifteenth of October, there was a train derailment at Camden Road on the North London Line. It still hasn’t been fixed fully yet, as the train brought the overhead wiring down in a very difficult place.

It’s reported here in the Camden New Journal. Some of the comments are priceless and fairly paranoid and speculate about it being a nuclear fuel train. It was actually, a load of containers going from Birmingham to Felixstowe.

Probably the good news is that this derailment has caused great inconvenience to freight train operators and they will be thinking harder about using the direct routes via Nuneaton and Peterborough, thus avoiding sending freight trains through Central London. This will of course get easier once the Bacon Factory Curve is complete at Ipswich.

October 18, 2013 Posted by | News, Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Progress On The Bacon Factory Curve

I went to Felixstowe today, to see my dentist. After changing at Ipswich, I was able to get some pictures of work on the new chord allowing freight trains leaving the Felixstowe branch to go straight towards Stowmarket, Ely and Cambridge. More details are given here.

I must say the pictures were better than last time I tried as the Class 153; Benjamin Britten, seemed to have had its windows cleaned.

July 5, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

Bacon Factory Curve Action

As the train to Woodbridge passed onto the East Suffolk Line, north of Ipswich station, it would appear that at last work is starting on creating the Bacon Factory or Ipswich North Curve to allow trains, and especially heavy freight ones, to pass to and from Felixstowe without reversing in Ipswich station.

February 20, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment