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West Norfolk set to welcome longer trains at last

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A long-awaited expansion of passenger capacity on West Norfolk’s rail link is set to be celebrated at an event today.

The first eight-coach train serving all stations between Lynn and Cambridge is due to run this morning, ahead of the introduction of a new timetable this weekend.

Industry officials say the multi-million pound project will provide more than 2,000 extra seats on services to Cambridge during the morning commute every day.

The first longer train to Lynn should run later today.
The first longer train to Lynn should run later today.

They also claim the plans will reduce overcrowding by as much as 80 per cent, based on pre-coronavirus levels.

The event marks the end of a long-running campaign by political and business leaders, as well as passenger groups, to tackle chronic overcrowding on peak time services.

South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss said the expansion was “great news.”

She added: “I know the improvements will be welcomed by all travellers on the Kings Lynn to London route and with future ambitions for increased economic growth and housing in West Norfolk.

“The additional carriages will significantly ease the over-crowding on what is an extremely popular rail route.”

John Grant, chairman of the Fen Line Users Assocation, added: “We welcome this major boost to Great Northern services for Fen Line passengers, which will help with social distancing now and relieve overcrowding when ridership gets back to normal.”

Nearly £30 million has been spent on the project, which will see most trains run as eight coaches between Lynn and Cambridge, instead of the current standard four-coach units.

A new siding has also been built near Lynn’s station, while platforms have been extended at Littleport and Waterbeach to accommodate the longer trains.

Construction work was completed in the summer and Great Northern has spent the last few months conducting tests ahead of the launch.

Great Northern managing director Tom Moran said: “This will make a real difference for our passengers on the Fen Line between King’s Lynn and Cambridge.

“I’m so impressed by the collaborative work we’ve seen between Great Northern, Network Rail and the communities along this route."

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