The title of Hunstanton Civic Society’s February talk was, King’s Lynn to Hunstanton – better by bus or train and the speaker, Ben Colson, gave a very balanced account of the pros and cons.
He declared two interests, as he lives in the original part of Wolferton station and is fascinated by railway history; but as managing director of Norfolk Green he owns and runs the buses between Lynn and Hunstanton and beyond.
Relating the history of the rail line to Hunstanton through to its closure in 1969, he said it should never have been closed – pointing out that even Dr Beeching had recommended the line be retained.
Mr Colson said that the current situation is much better than it has been at any time since the closure of the line in 1969, because then there were 11 trains a day and 20 buses.
Today there are up to 39 buses between the two towns, of which eight or nine are fast, replicating the former railway journey time.
He considered the benefits of dedicated bus lanes and guided bus routes, but thought it improbable that a rail line would be restored.
However, he reported a conversation with a First Capital Connect train driver, who said that last year more people had travelled on a network now less than a quarter of the size it was 100 years ago.
To Mr Colson’s surprise, the driver added: “All we need to do now is to get the Hunstanton line reopened and we’re there!
“The only way to do that is to get the county to provide a reserved track for buses; let them demonstrate the growth potential; then upgrade the reserved track to run trams.
“With the further growth that will bring, eventually we can make the case for trains to be back in Hunstanton again!”
Mr Colson concluded that he wholeheartedly agreed with this astute observation.