The Ipswich Chord is very much an initiative of Local Government. Ipswich Borough Council has argued since the early 1990s for a link from Felixstowe to the Midlands for freight trains that avoided reversal at Ipswich. Originally conceived as a joint project with a northern road bypass, IBC were successful in getting it included in the County Structure Plan.
The project was doomed when the by-pass was deleted by the then Secretary of State (John Gummer) but by 2000 had been revived in a different form when Cllr Phil Smart surveyed the former Harris site on Hadleigh Road and drew up the present scheme. With support from Felixstowe Port, the Rail Freight Group and the (then) Strategic Rail Authority it was reinstated in the structure plan and Ipswich Local Plan in spite of 'Railtrack' (later Network Rail) showing little enthusiasm for the project.

After much persuasion, Network Rail were convinced of the need for this line and announced their intention to proceed in the autumn of 2009.

Ipswich Councillor and Railfuture member Phil Smart said "Today sees the culmination of a long campaign but also the start of another one. We call upon the minister to announce the electrification of the route from Felixstowe to Birmingham and the long overdue scheme for 'dualling' the line to Felixstowe. The new chord and recent expansion of rail capacity at Felixstowe will be wasted unless capacity is increased along this branch line."