MP slams rail study for King's Lynn inadequacy
A West Norfolk MP has criticised a national railway review’s first evidence paper for not acknowledging Lynn or Downham as key stations.
Liz Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, pinpointed the Williams Rail Review for suggesting the line as far as Ely from London was key, while failing to mention any Fen Line stations beyond Ely.
The Williams Rail Review, named after independent chairman Keith Williams, will have its final report published as a government white paper in the autumn of 2019.
Established last September, the review is looking at the structure of the whole rail industry and the way passenger rail services are delivered.
But Ms Truss said it was “absolutely ridiculous” that Lynn station is not branded a key route, despite having nearly one million passengers each year.
She said: “Anyone who travels the Fen Line on a regular basis will know how busy the trains are.
“Commuters, tourists, school and college students all use this train line and, along with freight traffic, it provides a vital link into the county.
“It is unacceptable to suggest this all stops at Ely and regrettably demonstrates a considerable lack of knowledge about our key rail routes and stations.
“I will be contacting ATOC, the Williams Review and DFT to ensure this is resolved as a matter of priority.”
Once the review is published, reform will begin in 2020.
Passenger and taxpayer interests are said to be prioritised when recommendations are made.
Last month, Mr Williams said the rail franchising system cannot continue as it is.
He said: “We need to recognise that there is unlikely to be a ‘one size fits all’ solution which will work for every part of the country and all types of passenger.
“There is a real hunger for change within the industry as well as outside.
“We will continue listening to what people have to say and learning from your insight and experience.
“In the autumn we will bring everything together and, alongside government, recommend change through a white paper.
“It will be the culmination of the biggest and widest review of the railway for generations.”
Further papers are expected over the coming weeks with researchers encouraging formal feedback for the process.