Ipswich to Ely Line
|Ipswich to Ely Line|
East of England
|Opening||26 November 1846|
|Rolling stock||Class 153 "Sprinter"
Class 156 "Sprinter"
Class 170 "Turbostar"
|Line length||~24 mi (39 km)|
|No. of tracks||Two|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The Ipswich to Ely Line is a railway line linking East Anglia to the English Midlands via Ely. There is also a branch line to Cambridge. Passenger services are operated by Greater Anglia. It is a part of Network Rail Strategic Route 5, SRS 05.07, 05.08 and part of SRS 07.03.
The Eastern Union Railway had built a line from Colchester to Ipswich and they formed a new company, Ipswich and Bury Railway Company, chaired by John Chevallier Cobbold to build an extension from Ipswich to Bury St Edmunds which was known as the "Bury extension". It was granted parliamentary approval by Royal Assent on 21 July 1845 and the first train ran on 26 November 1846. The Ipswich and Bury Railway Company was formally merged with the Eastern Union Railway Company on 9 July 1847.
The 'Newmarket Railway' was built by the Newmarket and Chesterford Railway with the first section from Newmarket to Six Mile Bottom (and on to meet the West Anglia Main Line at Great Chesterford) opened in 1848, followed by a section from Six Mile Bottom to Cambridge in 1851.
The Great Eastern Railway was formed in 1862 acquiring both the Newmarket and Chesterford Railway and the Eastern Union Railway. They opened the final section of the route from Newmarket to Ely and also to Bury St Edmunds in 1879.
Following the grouping of 1923 the lines became part of the London & North Eastern Railway.
In 1948 as a result of nationalization of the railways the route became part of British Railways.
The line shares the route between Ipswich and Haughley junction with the Great Eastern Main Line which is classified as primary line. The section between Haughley junction and Ely is classified as secondary line with the Cambridge branch being classified as rural.
The line from Ipswich to part way between Kennett and Ely is double track with the remainder, plus the Cambridge branch, being single track (with a passing loop at Dullingham). Where the line is separate from the Great Eastern Main Line it is not electrified and has a line speed of between 40-75 mph. It has a loading gauge of W10 between Ipswich and Ely with the Cambridge branch being W8.
The Summer 2015 passenger services, both operated by Abellio Greater Anglia, are:
- Ipswich - Cambridge (hourly)
- Ipswich - Peterborough (two-hourly)
Some services are extended to Harwich Parkeston Quay.
Track doubling between Kennett and Ely
Soham rail disaster
Freight train derailment June 2007
All traffic on the line was suspended for six months following a freight train derailed on the bridge over the River Great Ouse between Ely and Soham on 22 June 2007. The bridge was severely damaged and closed to all traffic while it was rebuilt. Rail replacement buses operated between Bury St Edmunds, Ely, March, Whittlesey and Peterborough for the duration until the section of line re-opened on 21 December 2007. (See also Railways in Ely)
- "Route 5 - West Anglia" (PDF). Network Rail. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
- "THE HISTORY OF THURSTON RAILWAY STATION". Retrieved 2009-05-02.
- Allen, Cecil J. (1956) . The Great Eastern Railway (2nd ed.). Hampton Court: Ian Allan. pp. 37–38.
- Allen 1956, pp. 44–45
- "FORDHAM". British History online. Retrieved 2009-05-02.
- "Enhancements programme: statement of scope, outputs and milestones" (PDF). Network Rail. 2009-03-31. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- BBC News (23 June 2007). "Derailed train moved from track". Retrieved 2007-07-10.