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Getting West Norfolk’s trains back on track

In the weekly Friday Politics slot, Liberal Democrat councillor Rob Colwell discusses train services...

Do our West Norfolk MPs think we are stupid? Following the scrapping of the HS2 high-speed rail to Manchester last month, we are apparently meant to be grateful that work will now be considered for the Ely North Junction, enabling improved services on the line.

Our two Conservative MPs are keen to tell us they are delivering for local people, yet haven’t we heard all this before? For those like me experiencing déjà vu, don’t worry, you are not alone. Liz Truss on X (formerly Twitter) stated the vital rail upgrade was coming in 2012, 2017, 2018 and 2020. Sadly, the former PM’s social media account appears as reliable as the trains on the Lynn line, with her recent bumpy journey through British politics mirroring a journey along the y disgraceful track.

Cllr Rob Colwell is unhappy with train services under the Conservative Government
Cllr Rob Colwell is unhappy with train services under the Conservative Government

My wife spent 10 years prior to the pandemic commuting daily from Lynn to Cambridge and saw first-hand as services degraded. She would claim back hundreds of pounds for trains either late or cancelled. We have watched the railway companies change timetables, making the journey longer as they reduce train speeds due to track defects, yet the lack of any concrete results from our elected MPs is breathtaking.

Our rail infrastructure is shameful and those of you who have experienced modern and reliable trains on the continent will know we are now chugging along in the slow lane.

Thankfully the plans to close ticket offices have been scrapped this week. These cost-cutting changes would have particularly impacted the elderly, vulnerable and disabled. It required petitions, protests, council motions and letters to MPs to persuade the government and Department for Transport, who had earlier approved the plans, to do a 180-degree ‘railway turntable’ on this proposal. They were caught out yet now try to spin this as a victory for them.

Some of MP Liz Truss' tweets from regarding train services
Some of MP Liz Truss' tweets from regarding train services

I’m very much in favour of increasing the reach of our railways locally. I will support any proposed new station in South Lynn or West Winch and why shouldn’t we be bold and fight for reopening the Hunstanton line or the line to Wisbech connecting with the Midlands?

Whatever is coming down the track in the future for rail in our area is anyone’s guess after a decade of missed economic opportunities under the Conservatives, but one thing we can all be certain of is that with this lot in charge they just simply aren’t able to deliver what is needed for local people.

It seems they will find any excuse to further degrade public services. But never fear, there is light at the end of this particular tunnel with a general election fast approaching, although many will argue not approaching fast enough!

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