Keep our rail dream on track, King's Lynn to Hunstanton campaigners urge council leaders
County council leaders are being urged to commit financial backing for the fight to restore the rail link between Lynn and Hunstanton.
The move has been outlined after the campaign to re-open the line, which shut more than 50 years ago, missed out on a share of a central Government funding stream to revive lost links.
But campaign leaders say they have been encouraged following discussions with ministers.
And Hunstanton county councillor Andrew Jamieson says the campaign has come too far to be halted now.
He said: “A new railway offers so much promise for bolstering our local economy for decades to come, so we must not drop the ball now.
“The Hunstanton scheme has done magnificently to get this far in only a couple of years, which is a tribute to the enthusiasm and well-researched work of the local campaign group.”
The hope of bringing train services back to Hunstanton was raised last summer when the scheme was included in a list of projects to be considered for a share of Government funds intended to help reverse the Beeching cuts of the 1960s.
But the latest announcement from the Restoring Your Railway Fund, issued by the Department for Transport on Thursday, did not include the Lynn to Hunstanton line or any other scheme in this region.
Leaders of the King's Lynn Hunstanton Railway Campaing group say a more detailed, independent study is now needed to establish the potential travel benefits of the scheme.
It would explore how the line could potentially take passenger and freight traffic off the roads, as well as improving travel access to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in either its present or any future location.
Such an assessment is likely to cost tens of thousands of pounds to compile and had been the subject of the campaign's bid to the Government.
The county council has already thrown its weight behind the campaign and was among the bodies to support the funding bid.
Martin Wilby, the authority’s cabinet member for transport, said today: “While we were disappointed that the Government rejected our initial bid for work on the reinstatement of the King’s Lynn-Hunstanton line, we are determined to ensure Norfolk has the transport infrastructure its needs to meet the demands of the 21st century.
“We are currently considering our next steps and will always consider well thought out plans to address the needs of communities in West Norfolk.”
Mr Jamieson said he also plans to hold talks with West Norfolk Council leader, Stuart Dark, on the subject.
Meanwhile, campaign leaders have also renewed their pleas for the public to sign their online petition calling for restoration of the line.
Nearly 8,000 people have already backed the call via the change.org campaign website.
Group spokesman Howard Johnston said: “We want to make it possible for our young people to get to places like Cambridge to work. Hunstanton and its surrounding villages should also become famous for their wonderful attractions, not for the bumper-to-bumper traffic queues on the A149 road every summer’.
“The case for rebuilding railway is overwhelmingly strong, and adding your name to the on-line petition is a good way to demonstrate community solidarity.”