Restoring the rail link between Lynn and Hunstanton may cost more than £150 million, a steering group admits.
Members of the King’s Lynn to Hunstanton Railway Project have met council representative to discuss restoring the railway between the two towns, adding emphasise to the potential benefits it could bring to the region.
A presentation made to the meeting suggested that restoring the 15.3-mile Lynn to Hunstanton railway could cost £155 million.
This figure is based on the recently-restored Edinburgh to Galashiels’ railway, which cost £353 million for 35 miles of new track in 2012, equating to £384 million today.
Georgina Turner, who started an online petition to reinstate the railway back in May, said: “Using the cost per mile of the borders rail project, an estimate of cost of the King’s Lynn to Hunstanton rail link would be £155 million for 15.3 miles.
“This cost includes administration, consultation, surveys, feasibility study and compulsory purchase of land where required. It includes the build cost, stations and signalling.”
The online petition, which currently has 2,155 signatures, says a regular train service would benefit the seaside town by bringing in more visitors and reducing vehicle emissions from queuing traffic in the area.
“The keynote speaker at the meeting in Hunstanton was Peter Wakefield of Railfuture. Peter outlined how a similar project had been recently built in the Scottish Borders, the benefits it brought to the communities the rail line served and how seemingly impossible obstacles had been overcome,” said Ms Turner.
“Peter stated it is extremely unlikely that funding for the King’s Lynn Hunstanton Railway Project will be available from Norfolk County Council.
“It will be necessary to consider funding from the private sector to build the route in return for an arrangement to pay back costs over 60 years.”
At the meeting, Mr Wakefield said a £5 ticket price per passenger travelling from Lynn to Hunstanton could pay back an estimate project cost of £155 million without problem.
John Maiden, of Hunstanton Civic Society, said: “Some clever people have worked out how it will work and how it will be paid for. It is an investment, it isn’t dead money. If the line is there and it is up and running then people will use it.
“Many people live in Hunstanton and there are a lot more new houses going up there, but a lot of those actually work in King’s Lynn. The line will make it easier for those people to get to work. It will benefit from an economical and environmental way. It is logical to have a working line from Lynn to Hunstanton.”
For more information about the King’s Lynn to Hunstanton railway Project visit Hunstanton Heritage Centre on Saturday, December 2, from 12pm to 4pm, to hear members discuss the project.
Alternatively, follow them on Facebook at @KLHunstantonRailwayProject to keep up to date with their upcoming meetings, or find their online petition at www.change.org/p/government-reinstate-train-line-from-king-s-lynn-to-hunstanton.