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Turnstone: Hunstanton writer John Maiden discusses importance of rail links after South Lynn station plans

In this week’s column, Hunstanton writer John Maiden discusses the importance of rail links…

As a self-confessed railway enthusiast, it pleased me no end to read the Lynn News report of plans to open the long-awaited railway station at South Lynn. The former station in this area was closed to passengers before Hunstanton station was axed in May 1969.

Even the railway-bashing Dr Beeching had not included the Lynn to Hunstanton line on the list of stations he wanted to close - in the mistaken belief that this would make the railways more profitable.

Hunstanton railway station in the diesel age
Hunstanton railway station in the diesel age

From personal experience, I know very well that if you have to use a car to travel to the nearest railway station, there is a very good chance you will use the car to complete the journey.

This was certainly my experience when I had to attend meetings in London connected with work.

I might have set off with the intention of boarding a train in Lynn, but one look at the build-up of traffic on the approach roads would often be enough to convince me to drive on to Redbridge, where I could complete my journey on the London underground.

Hunstanton railway station from the air
Hunstanton railway station from the air

With the benefit of hindsight, I regret all those car journeys, which would not have happened if I could have boarded a train at Hunstanton.

Now my hope is that James Palmer, leader of the Eastern Powerhouse, will make the case for central government to spend a fraction of the money originally earmarked for HS2, on restoring Hunstanton to the national rail network.

It is to be hoped that the person elected to represent Northwest Norfolk in parliament on July 4 will also make the case for expanding the rail network to cover this corner of the county.

In 1951 I was selected, at the age of 13, for the three-year grammar school course at Wymondham College.

After Hunstanton railway station was demolished
After Hunstanton railway station was demolished

In those days it was possible to travel to and from the town of Wymondham by train from Hunstanton, without going anywhere near Lynn.

Sadly those days are long gone, together with the miles of track that were ripped up with indecent haste, before most people could even think about turning them into heritage railways, except for a few lines, including North and Mid Norfolk.

Nothing was done about the lines north, west and east out of Lynn, with the exception of the Sand Line, which exists to this day for purely commercial reasons.

In a sane world, the money set aside for the so-called western link road, this side of Norwich, would be better used connecting Norwich to West Norfolk by rail.

Instead of which the leader of the county council seems to be hell bent on going ahead with spending an enormous sum of money on building 3.9 miles of dual carriageway, which has quite recently been condemned by Natural England - the government's own watchdog.

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