By Casey Jones, Railway Correspondent
A new £7 billion Tube line is being built to create a high-speed link between London and Ipswich in Suffolk.
The 70-mile line will run in direct competition to Greater Anglia mainline trains, which provide a questionable service to tens of thousands of commuters every day.
Transport for London confirmed to the Suffolk Gazette that it will launch its first new route since the Jubilee Line opened in 1979.
No name has been set in stone, but we understand the line will be called the Anglian Line, and will be coloured beige on the famous Underground maps, which will now be extended greatly to the right-hand side.
It will run from Liverpool Street in the City and remain underground for most of the journey to Ipswich, stopping only at Chelmsford, Witham, Kelvedon, Colchester, and Manningtree before terminating at Suffolk’s county town.
Only the short one-mile stretch to the east of Manningtree will run overground, to allow commuters a nice view of the River Stour.
The Anglian Line will be a huge and complex engineering project, and although officials would not be drawn on the exact cost, it is expected to run over £7 billion.
Londoners will have to pay for much of the cost through local taxes, but Transport for London believes those living in the capital will enjoy the chance to travel to Ipswich, which will be classed as a new Zone 7 destination, and will cost just £8 each way.
A TfL insider said: “Poor old Suffolk and Essex rail commuters have a terrible time of it with Greater Anglia, so the door is wide open for someone to come in and offer a better service.
“The fact that we will be running underground means there are minimal planning and no environmental concerns, and now we have the finances in place we expect to start work in the summer.”
The line will be connected to existing mainline stations via stairwells underground.
East Anglian commuters were excited by the news. Brian Tomkins, 44, who commutes daily from Ipswich, said: “This can’t come soon enough. The current Greater Anglia service is terrible, and we face regular delays, unexpected cancellations, and issues with ancient rolling stock.
“To get a sleek new underground service all the way to London is brilliant. It will be faster and cleaner… and best of all, Londoners will be footing most of the bill.”
Mr Tomkins, who works in a City of London finance house, estimated the new Anglian Line will save him £5,000 a year, and get him to work 20 minutes quicker each day.
A spokesman for Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s office confirmed Londoners will stump up most of the £7 billion bill for the new line. “While it will mainly benefit those living outside the capital, it will give Londoners a nice route out of the City towards the lovely East Anglian countryside.”
The news comes as Government official revealed they would build Britain’s first canal for more than 100 years, easing road congestion by connecting Felixstowe Port with the Midlands