A big influence just downstream from Ipswich Docks

Original post January 7, 2015 By: Tom Owens

A huge influence on the trade conducted in the Haven Ports is expansion of Felixstowe docks.

When I first sailed into Felixstowe in 1977 there was a pub right in the old dock called The Little Ships and the dock sheds where cargo was examined were re-used flying boat sheds. Cambridge University owns much of the land around here hence the naming of Trinity Terminal just a bit further upstream from Landguard. This new deep water terminal has, in addition to the rest of this huge estate played havoc with local infrastructure. Peter Ellis is photographing the remains of rail infrastructure into Ipswich Docks and here we can see the end of the line at Landguard. There is one railway line in and out of a port that handles over 40% of the UK’s imports, and one dual carriageway trunk road. This vessel carries 19,100 40′ containers.


Obviously not all 19,00 are destined for the UK but imagine the impact upon the road and railroad network if that lot had to be moved out of the dead end that is Felixstowe. It is over 70 miles until a North South major trunk road is met. It is little wonder the A14 is wearing out and is heavily congested. It is my belief that a more robust railroad network should be built to move as much as possible this way to other hubs in the country.


Ipswich has developed a different trade in grain and timber. There are some containers shipped but this is small beer compared to this outfit.

Comments from original blog


Mick Medley LRPS · January 14, 2015 Reply

Being an Ipswich boy until 25 years ago, now 66 years old, I have fond memories of Ipswich Docks and the railway thereto, including the traffic being held for trains to cross over the road from the goods yard into the dock.
I will watch with interest your progress,

Tom Owens · January 14, 2015 Reply

Thanks for reading and looking and commenting on our project Mick. 4000 boxes came off CSCL Globe and 3000 were loaded. Obviously not all would have come in or out by road or rail but a good percentage would have. The infrastructure of old docks like Ipswich had got it right by having rail wagons run right up the quaysides. Some Victorian thinking needs to be applied to the infrastructure feeding Felixstowe. I doubt that will happen in my lifetime.


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