‘We want improvements to West Norfolk’s rail link too’, government officials insist

Train leaving King's Lynn Railway Station ANL-160316-152650009
Train leaving King's Lynn Railway Station ANL-160316-152650009
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Government officials have defended their handling of West Norfolk’s rail links following criticism from two senior business leaders.

Last week, industry bosses were warned that the borough’s economy would suffer without a clear commitment to improving services to and from the borough.

Ben Colson, chairman of the King’s Lynn BID Steering Group, and Darren Taylor, chairman of Lynn’s Town Centre Partnership, also said they feared the area was being “deliberately misled” by government and rail officials.

But the Department for Transport (DfT) has insisted that passengers will see enhanced services.

In a statement issued this week, the DfT said: “East Anglia has a thriving economy and we want it to be served by the best train services possible.

“We continue to work with Network Rail and Govia Thameslink Railway to improve services and create more capacity on the Cambridge to King’s Lynn corridor.

“We are clear that this will include upgrading Ely North junction.

“We want passengers to see the benefits of this work as soon as possible.”

However, Mr Taylor remains unconvinced by the department’s stance.

He said: “It’s vitally important that the King’s Lynn line feels the benefits of any changes and improvements.

“At the moment I continue to be concerned that we are in danger of being left behind while both Norwich and Cambridge see upgrades to both the line and the trains themselves.

“The Town Centre Partnership firmly believes that the introduction of half hourly trains will benefit the whole area.

“We will continue to push for this to happen immediately and not at some unspecified date in the future.”

There has been renewed focus on the state of West Norfolk’s rail network since Network Rail announced last November that work on Ely North would be delayed until at least 2019.

There is also growing concern about when the long-awaited half-hourly service, which was due to begin in May next year, and proposals to allow longer trains to run between Lynn and Cambridge will actually start.

However, the DfT insists that the project will still take place and other schemes to increase capacity in the meantime are being developed.