Michael Portillo opens new look King’s Lynn train station
17:15 22 July 2014
© Archant Norfolk 2014
Broadcaster Michael Portillo arrived in style at the newly-refurbished King’s Lynn railway station.
After travelling from London King’s Cross, Mr Portillo officially opened the station’s 1950s-inspired design by unveiling a gold plaque.
The project cost in the region of £1.1m and started last spring.
Mr Portillo, who presents the BBC’s Great British Railway Journeys series, said: “It is a enormous privilege to be here, Lynn is a wonderful town with a lot of history. I believe in general that people are uplifted in their emotions with nice surroundings.
“You can see the amount of thought that has gone in to it and we are able to appreciate the fine lines of architecture. I love the way the colours have been carried out in the station and the gold signifies it is a royal town.”
The station is indeed a royal station as the Queen uses it when she travels to Sandringham for Christmas.
Featuring a café which has recently celebrated being 100 years old, the station was built with timber in 1846 and then rebuilt in 1871.
As well as a retro look, there are modernisations including automatic doors and LED lightning.
Mr Portillo – a former Conservative MP – said that it is often difficult to combine a modern with an old design.
He said: “It has been achieved here and it’s important to preserve the heritage. But this could not have happened without the support of the local people.”
The new-look grade II listed station features Great Eastern Railway inspired cast iron benches, vintage lanterns and painted with a cream a royal blue theme.
West Norfolk mayor Barry Ayres said that the new station gives passengers a “superb” impression of King’s Lynn.
He said: “The number of passengers has been steadily increasing making the station ever more important and King’s Lynn has history that attracts tourists.”
The opening comes after it was announced in May that the Thameslink Govia franchise will take over from First Capital Connect on September 14 and will introduce half-hourly peak services between Lynn and London throughout the day.
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