All change on the trains
Our two existing train companies on the main line are Anglia Railways and First Great Eastern. Having recently merged, the new joint company seemed likely to win the franchise to run all our Eastern Region passenger trains. But early in January National Express became the winners, apparently because they are big operators with more resources than Anglia Railways (GB Railways), a successful but small operator. That being so, we hope to see major investment in newer rolling stock. But will it all be gain? The Ipswich - London route, unlike most, actually benefited from privatisation with extra trains and some attractive fares. Now Ipswich will probably lose one out of four trains an hour to London. However, we don't want to lose the option of the Travel Card with its freedom to use all the Underground and buses in London - which represents desirable "joined-up" ticketing. We do welcome the appointment of Tim Clarke, present MD of Anglia Railways and an Ipswich man, as MD of the new National Express company. (Don't forget that Ipswich tunnel will be closed 11 July - 5 September for deepening. Not an easy start for the new company!)
Preston and Duckworth move out
To older members this heading would have been more striking if it had read "Croydons move out". Croydons ceased trading a few years ago but the name was synonymous with the big ornate "Tudor" shop in Tavern Street. Generations of the Croydon family since the opening of the premises in 1865 were commemorated on a board on the faqade. Preston and Duckworth are moving to smaller premises in Butter Market previously occupied by Lawleys, who after more than a year of "closing down" have finally done so.
Hangings for all
Isabel Clover's Charter Hangings have been beautifully photographed and most helpfully described in the booklet published at the end of last year. Commissioned by Ipswich Arts Association, the "hangings" are in fact eight wonderfully multi-material illustrations of the history of Ipswich. Our Society sponsored the third in the series, "The Medieval Town" which incorporates Pykenham's Gatehouse where the Society's Executive Committee meets. The booklet is available from the Tourist Information Centre. It makes a very suitable present for friends - after you've bought your own copy. Its A4 size is ideal for each photograph and can be kept in a house more easily than the originals, each about 2m high by 1m wide!