Monday, 26 January 2009

Port gets £20m EU funding for rail links

EUROPEAN funding of £20 million is to be sought towards a £100m project to improve rail links to and from the Port of Felixstowe.

The application is almost complete - and MEPs in the region hope a decision could be known by May.

They say the boost in rail cargo could bring more jobs to the Felixstowe area and also take hundreds of thousands of lorries a year off the region's roads.Suffolk Labour MEP Richard Howitt held talks with management at the port and union officials to discuss the grant application - not seeing the port at its best on a wet and miserable day.

The project will improve the cross-country freight route which runs from Felixstowe to Nuneaton (F2N) and enable the port to send containers easily to ports in the Midlands and the north of England.

When linked to a £40m scheme to dual four-and-a-half miles of the Felixstowe-Ipswich rail line, it will increase the number of daily trains at the port from 26 to 40.“

We are applying for £20m from the European fund and we will formally submit the bid by April and could get a decision as soon as May,” said Mr Howitt.“

We have been talking about this for many years and it is time the talking stopped and action started.

“People want to see these improvements and this investment will allow the amount of cargo going by rail to increase, taking lorries off the roads, and enabling more jobs to be created.”

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