Hourly train service unlikely any time soon Manea villagers told after Ipswich meeting with Greater Anglia bosses
PUBLISHED: 16:16 21 May 2019
A promised hourly rail service from Manea that would connect the village more regularly with Peterborough and Ipswich has been put on hold indefinitely.
Members of the Manea station adopters group - a scheme whereby communities can communicate with rail operator Greater Anglia - revealed the news in a social media post..
The group says it met with Greater Anglia senior managers, including Jamie Burles the Abellio Greater Anglia managing director, in Ipswich last week.
"With a heavy heart we have to report that Mr Burles confirmed that the promised hourly service, due to start in December this year, is now highly unlikely to take place," the Manea group reported.
They quoted an official statement from Greater Anglia that said that "discussions within the rail industry are still ongoing with regard to the hourly Ipswich to Peterborough service.
"Greater Anglia is keen to introduce the services once the new trains, which are due to be phased in over the latter half of 2019, have been introduced.
"However, infrastructure issues remain a key barrier to be addressed. It is looking unlikely that the hourly service will commence in December 2019 as originally planned."
The Manea group hopes the parish council "will really grasp the importance of this service to an increasingly large proportion of our community.
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"The section 106 money was paid over five years ago for a car park and yet still the people of Manea have to wait.
"In addition, the correct political pressure needs to be applied to ensure we get the same service as Whittlesea (a station with far less passengers than Manea) who have 10 trains stopping on a Sunday while Manea gets none".
Parish councillor Ben Bonos posted to the village Facebook group: "I'm not sure why Sunday services aren't happening yet.
"Perhaps they plan to introduce all of the timetable changes at the same time. I'm fully supportive of a better rail service for the village; to be honest I'm not sure I can think of anyone who isn't."
One villager pointed out that "it should be remembered that people bought properties in the village on the understanding that an hourly train service was going to be available in the near future".
Another added: "We need to get our local MP Steve Barclay involved in this - drag him away from Brexit and get involved with his local community."
A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: "We are working with Network Rail to overcome infrastructure issues including level crossing upgrades and improvements in the Ely area in order to introduce an hourly service between Ipswich and Peterborough, calling at Manea, as soon as practicable.
"No date has been set for bringing in a Sunday service."