Rail firm reveals when services will double between King’s Lynn, Watlington, Downham Market, Littleport, Ely, Cambridge and London
© Archant Norfolk 2012
Rail officials have revealed when half-hourly trains will start running between West Norfolk and London.
Govia Thameslink is due to take over the franchise to run trains between King’s Lynn, Downham Market, Ely and London King’s Cross from September.
A spokesman said: “From May 2017, the frequency of off-peak services between King’s Lynn and King’s Cross will double from one train per hour to two in each direction, except at certain times when scheduled freight trains on the King’s Lynn branch prevent this.”
She added existing trains on the Fen Line would be replaced with new air-conditioned stock from 2016.
Business leaders say the extra trains will boost business by making London more accessible from West Norfolk and the Fens.
While the Capital is little over 90 minutes’ ride from Lynn, there is currently only one service an hour.
South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, who has campaigned for improvements along the route, said: “This is excellent news and it’s a real boost to the local area.
“I have long been campaigning for a half hourly service which will not only promote travel from King’s Lynn and Downham Market to London but will also attract further inward investment in the area in terms of jobs, housing, education and tourism. “Along with the dualling of the A11, the upgrade of the A47 and continued improvement in broadband this news will bring big benefits to the east and in particular to South West Norfolk.”
Govia is promising to create an extra 10,000 seats into London at peak times, to ease overcrowding.
A £25m widening of Ely North Junction, at Queen Adelaide, will help create capacity for the extra trains. Ministers have pledged the money to ease the bottleneck where lines from Lynn, Peterborough, Cambridge and Norwich meet. Work is expected to begin later this year.