‘We must continue fight for rail improvements’, campaigners say as King’s Lynn line electrification anniversary is marked
Campaigners have been urged to keep up the pressure for improvements to West Norfolk’s rail link as the 25th anniversary of its electrification was marked.
A civic reception was held at Lynn’s town hall on Wednesday, just two weeks after ministers gave their strongest signal yet of significant future investment in the route.
A message from North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham, which was read at the gathering, warned the area could not “rest on its laurels” on the issue.
And former Lynn News editor Malcolm Powell, who was a leading figure in the electrification fight, said: “We won the first 25 year battle. We now have to win the second.”
It was in July 1992 that Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother visited Lynn’s station to mark the completion of a £40 million project that followed years of lobbying by campaigners and politicians, many of whom feared for the line’s very future without it.
Fen Line Users Association chairman Colin Sampson said the success of the line since it was electrified enables the current calls for improvements ranging from longer trains to the re-dualling of tracks that were downgraded to allow for the electrification to take place.
And Alan Gajdzik, who received a special plaque from borough mayor Carol Bower in recognition of his work running the station cafe for more than 30 years, said electrification brought passengers to Lynn from well beyond the borough of West Norfolk.
He said: “I get a lot of customers who come from Holt or Cromer who could got to Norwich but come here because it’s a better service.”
The reception followed the news earlier this month that transport secretary Chris Grayling had signalled his intention for the Ely upgrade to proceed during the next spending round, which runs from 2019 to 2024.
Sir Henry’s message said: “Now is not the time to rest on our laurels and we need to progress with Ely north junction.
“We must all work together to ensure that commitment is honoured.”
Work is also understood to be progressing to enable longer trains to run regularly along the line from late next year or early 2019.
Mrs Bower added: “I look forward to a brighter future with more improvements to the line and I wish everyone involved every success in achieving this.”