New services ‘will help ease West Norfolk rail crowding’, operator claims

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Extra trains on part of West Norfolk’s rail line will help cut overcrowding for passengers here, until longer units can be brought into service, company bosses say.

Industry officials have already signalled their intention to run eight-carriage trains, instead of the current standard four, between Lynn and Cambridge from late next year.

But rail operator Great Northern has now announced plans to introduce extra trains between Ely, Cambridge and London later this month.

The firm says the move will provide an extra 3,300 seats each day, increasing capacity by 40 per cent.

Stuart Cheshire, the company’s passenger services director, said: “These extra trains should ease crowding on the King’s Lynn services, which will be a real boon for our passengers.”

A rail summit in Downham in January was told officials were aiming to run longer trains to and from Lynn from late 2018.

Mr Cheshire added: “Network Rail is working towards upgrading power supplies and lengthening platforms by the end of next year, at Watlington, Littleport and Waterbeach, which would let us double the length of these trains to eight carriages to increase capacity”

The current expansion will see two extra trains per hour running between London King’s Cross and Cambridge, with one of those services continuing to Ely.

The move is part of a new timetable which will come into operation on May 21 and coincides with the opening of the new Cambridge North station, which will serve the Cambridge Business Park.

The timetable also coincides with the introduction of new carriages with air conditioning and fully accessible toilets, plus on-board information systems and power points. The firm also plans to introduce Wi-fi over the next few months.

Around three-quarters of the current Great Northern fleet is due to be replaced with the new carriages by 2020, with the remainder undergoing a £30 million refurbishment programme.