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Will post-pandemic changes affect railway commute from King's Lynn?




A major campaign to encourage people back on to the trains is to start soon and improvements by Great Northern are pulling out all the stops to attract returning passengers.

Many commuters and regular travellers that used the railway service have not yet returned. Either through a residual fear of close contact at a time when Covid still is present in the community or the switch to working from home.

Great Northern added eight carriages to the Lynn to Cambridge service in December last year making social distancing easier.

Great Northern trains twice as long will operate from Sunday 13 December.. (43521197)
Great Northern trains twice as long will operate from Sunday 13 December.. (43521197)

Andy Tyler is a regular user of the FenLine from Lynn station and also a member of the FenLine Users Group.

He said: "Yes, there are issues of people staying at home and not going to the office so much. Into the future this will continue to affect the business of the railway station.

"It has affected the cafeteria at Lynn station and those businesses in the workplace destination such as Ely, Cambridge and King's Cross where there are shops and cafes."

To return to full trains will perhaps need to start from the ground up as many office workers do not commute now as often as before the pandemic.

Longer trains will be operating between King's Lynn station (pictured) and Cambridge from December 2020 (50424042)
Longer trains will be operating between King's Lynn station (pictured) and Cambridge from December 2020 (50424042)

Mr Tyler, a Labour councillor on West Norfolk Council, said: "Railways want to encourage people back to using trains and the measures the rail companies have put in to place have been to keep people's safe and they have done very well."

But what of the future?

He said:" I have been talking to quite a few people about transport and the perception has changed. People who are cautious and nervous and less likely to use a coach, bus or train even though the railways it is proven to be safe.

"I have made several journeys to the capital, Ely and Cambridge and, touch wood, I have had no health problems."

With changing social norms such as working from home and a more cautious approach the rail companies will no doubt be appealing to the popularity of using rail as a mode of transport, post pandemic.

He said: "Even if we do get back to normal the pandemic has and will affect the perception of travelling by train. People have got used to working from home; is it really necessary as a journey?"

Great Northern promised this month to offer more comfort and communications for returning passengers.

The multi-million-pound improvement programme promises returning rail passengers a better station experience with new customer information screens at stations that include Downham and Lynn.

The statement said passengers will be able to enjoy a host of new features designed to give them a better journey experience. created dedicated web pages where passengers and local communities can get updates on what is happening at their station.

They can be found at here.



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