One of Ben’s major successes of 2010-11 was to secure £35m funding for the Ipswich Chord, which will allow trains to go straight from Felixstowe to the Midlands without having to travel via London as they do at present. The chord will require the construction of a new footbridge next to the existing Ipswich to Norwich rail line, over a flood barrier. The current flood defences break the river path – restored by the Ipswich River Action Group (RAG) – with a narrow and steep set of steps, forcing cyclists to dismount and preventing wheelchair users from travelling any further up the river.
Along with the national cycle campaign, Sustrans, RAG had suggested to Network Rail that their new works presented the opportunity to put a ramp in place but had been told that the budget did not stretch to ‘improvements’. Ben was enlisted to help and within a couple of months had secured the river ramp that RAG had wanted all along. Soon, once work is complete, everyone will be able to travel down the river path out of Ipswich to the meadows of Sproughton and Bramford beyond.
The new ramp will cost £30,000.