Greater Anglia has launched an additional four services between Norwich, Ipswich and London Liverpool Street to speed up travel between our region and London. I travelled to London on the inaugural service from Ipswich and I must say it got off to a great start as we arrived three minutes early.
The 90-minute services will operate on Mondays to Saturdays and depart Norwich at 09.00 and 17.00, calling at Ipswich at 09.33 and 17.33 respectively. The Norwich bound services depart London Liverpool Street at 11.00 and 19.00, calling at Ipswich at 11.55 and 19.57.
With the roll out of the new trains beginning this summer, passengers were already set to benefit from more reliable and comfortable journeys. It is my ambition that these initial four daily services are expanded and that we see regular services between Suffolk and London in under 60 minutes, at times that better suit commuters.
Our region is an economic hub. We have a thriving technology sector, including agri-tech, are home to major companies such as Greene King, British Sugar and Muntons and have a whole range of businesses using the Port of Felixstowe. Increasing the transport connectivity with London will give our region a further economic boost.
As we all know, Bury St Edmunds and beyond has a fantastic tourism offer. Whether it is our awe-inspiring cathedral, the Abbey ruins that are the site of one of the most significant monasteries in Europe, our unique place in the history of the Magna Carta, the story of St Edmund and final resting place of a French Tudor Queen. Not to mention the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket or the historic High Street and Church of St John the Baptist in Needham Market. We are also home to Britain’s last remaining regency theatre and have links to Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Norah Lofts.
We already welcome hundreds of thousands of people every year. Improved rail links with London will hopefully lead to more people visiting our wonderful area, helping us compete for a bigger share of the tourist pound.
As I have said, we have seen the start of the faster services between Norwich, Ipswich and London. It is my ambition for these services to become more regular and to build upon the connectivity within our region as well.