This weekend is the Essex Air Ambulance Motorcycle Run into Harwich, which will also bring thousands of visitors to our historic town. The Motorcycle Run takes place on the second Sunday in September this year and this date was known months ago.
There’s also a cruise ship, The Thomson Spirit, berthed at Parkeston Quay the same day. Don’t also forget the usual ferry travellers.
So, Network Rail have decided to close the branch line that day. All day [Edit – GreaterAnglia have now said the line closure is only until 1220]. There’s a bus service that will call at all the stations and will take 45 mins or so to/from Manningtree. Don’t even consider a bike or a wheelchair if my experience is anything to go by.
Earlier in the summer the Harwich Festival Of The Arts was held, spanning two weekends. The branch line was closed both weekends, restricting access to the town and ferry/cruise services.
I was told this morning by Greater Anglia, the franchise holder, that these engineering closures are planning 12-16 months in advance. I presume that Network Rail would talk to relevant authorities first?
Was Essex CC or Tendring DC consulted to ensure there was no clash with major events?
Harwich & district needs visitors to improve the local economy. Events create employment and bring attention to the area. Transport woes are not needed.