Call for forgotten train stations to be opened up to make the most of Norwich to Thetford train route

Flashback to 1966 and porter Walter Kidd watches a diesel rail car pull out of the platform at Hethersett station. Calls have been made for stations like this to be re-opened. Flashback to 1966 and porter Walter Kidd watches a diesel rail car pull out of the platform at Hethersett station. Calls have been made for stations like this to be re-opened.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
8:59 AM

Long-forgotten railway stations should be opened up and new ones built to maximise the potential of the train route from Norwich to Thetford, councillors have claimed.

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At a meeting of Norfolk County Council’s economic development sub-committee this week, the route came under the spotlight.

Bev Spratt, chairman of the committee and Conservative councillor for West Depwade, said it was a “no-brainer”to him that more should be made of the route, given the corridor between Norwich and Thetford is seen as a growth area for homes and jobs.

He said: “The railway line runs through the middle of the growth area. It’s great that the A11 is being dualled, but when we are talking about saving CO2 emissions and getting people out of their cars, we should be looking at the railways.

“There’s this line which runs from Thetford to Norwich and it seems to me to be common sense that we could do more with it.”

He said people could use the line to get to work and suggested there could be rich potential in reopening the station at Hethersett, which shut in 1966.

A number of the stations on the route, such as Spooner Row and Harling Road, are only sporadically served.

Andrew Boswell, Green county councillor for Norwich’s Nelson division said the line’s potential was not being realised.

He said: “There really is an opportunity here, such as opening up a station at Cringleford.

“I know a number of people where you have one partner who works at the UEA or the research park in Norwich and another who works at Cambridge.

“They live somewhere between the two and I think there’s a real opportunity to use this line to get people to and from work.”

But David Cumming, from the county council’s infrastructure and economic growth team, said rail operators were more interested in providing faster services over longer distances.

He said: “While it might be nice to think about extra stops on the line, buses are probably better at that sort of short distance trip.

“Another point is the huge cost of bringing forward infrastructure in terms of stations, trains and rolling stock.

“We know that companies will only do that if the services are going to be profitable.”

And Fiona McDiarmid, assistant director of economic development and strategy at Norfolk County Council, said that focusing on shorter trips on that line could undermine the Norfolk Rail Prospectus.

She said: “Our focus is on the Norwich to Cambridge route, but on whether that can be sped up and made more frequent.

“There’s a tension between those who want to get from A to B and those who want to get from A to C, D and E.

“It’s not that we are being negative, but we have to be realistic.”

What do you think? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

12 comments

  • As others have said, you can have two levels of service on the line. There's the fast trains that only stop between major hubs, and the local service that stops at the little stations. You would get the local service to a hub, then the fast service to your eventual destination. This would get a lot of traffic off the roads if the pricing structure was such that it compared favourably with driving. They missed a chance with the Postwick junction "improvements" in not putting in a train station for the park and ride, which would have removed several buses from the roads.

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    So_Many_Haters!

    Thursday, July 31, 2014

  • Tend to agree with Ingo, there is an under utilisation of the Thetford line other than to Ely (2 per hour), and proposed faster service to Cambridge. Like many lines the line does need a slower interim service that mops up commuter traffic from They ford, Attlebourgh, Wynmondham, Hethersett, Cringleford, East Marking and Brandon. Perhaps a stop outside County HallTrowse to cut the excessive current car parkcar use :)

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    Rob Whittle

    Thursday, July 31, 2014

  • Thank goodness there's people like Fiona McDiarmid and David Cumming to rain in the lunatics in the green party - Bev Spratt as a conservative should know better, but maybe there's a clue in the name. I'm all for improving rail services, but stopping trains at every lamppost is NOT improving services. Take the recently reopened Manea station. All the Ipswich - Peterborough services now stop there to drop off and pick up, er, precisely NOBODY. we need faster trains, not slower ones. If you choose to live in the middle of nowhere, get a car or catch the bus.

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    Norfolk and Good

    Thursday, July 31, 2014

  • The reason most of Norfolk's lines closed down is because the trains were so s.....l.....o......w , stopping at every wayside halt for one person to get on or off. Kings Lynn to Norwich took about two hours, so hardly surprising everyone preferred to use their cars which took them door to door in under an hour. Stopping at Attleborough, Wymondham, Thetford and Brandon is the most trains should do - all the other wayside halts like Pooner Row should be closed immediately as rail is far too expensive to serve a handful of very occasional travellers. If you need to use the train, live somewhere there's a train station, or drive to the nearest one!

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    Citizen of EUSSR

    Thursday, July 31, 2014

  • Long term the Norwich Ely route needs to be electrified then upgraded to 125mph the line is very underutilised only 2 trains a hour in each direction a t lest a pathe could be used to Cambridge then into a Cambridge kings cross fast path using new IEP trains timing would be about 100 to 120 mins faster than Norwich to liverpool steet a viable alternative then the existing hourly cambridge could run behind as a stopper

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    Glenn Rivett

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014

  • Long term the Norwich Ely route needs to be electrified then upgraded to 125mph the line is very underutilised only 2 trains a hour in each direction a t lest a pathe could be used to Cambridge then into a Cambridge kings cross fast path using new IEP trains timing would be about 100 to 120 mins faster than Norwich to liverpool steet a viable alternative then the existing hourly cambridge could run behind as a stopper

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Glenn Rivett

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014

  • Long term the Norwich Ely route needs to be electrified then upgraded to 125mph the line is very underutilised only 2 trains a hour in each direction a t lest a pathe could be used to Cambridge then into a Cambridge kings cross fast path using new IEP trains timing would be about 100 to 120 mins faster than Norwich to liverpool steet a viable alternative then the existing hourly cambridge could run behind as a stopper

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    Glenn Rivett

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014

  • To co use the existing railway infrastructure and use the time between mainline trains, to serve local communities with diesel electric trams, as a commuter services or as a regional connection between North east Norfolk and South west Norfolk, via Norwich. A plan once was represented by private traffic planners envisdaging a rind service in Norwich that is used as a commuter service in the morning and evening and as a ring service during the day connecting the south west economic hubs. But it is also envisable to run a tram to Long Stratton, Diss or any newly created stations at the southern fringes of Norwich. The Norfolk rail prospectus does not envisage any more than two services an hour, leaving plenty of time inbetween to move around. It can be done elsewhere so why not here? Is it the lack of expertise or the lack of will?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014

  • Does Councillor Spratt realise which side of the A11 Hethersett Station is? Or is she looking forward to a time when houses cover all the farmland south of the road, soon?

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    Markb65

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014

  • Yes of course we need stopping trains. More people are choosing to live in villages and there should be an alternative to using the car. The fast trains can still run - as they dO in other areas. Its called providing CHOICE!

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    caroline jacobs

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014

  • Mooseyt4, get a lift, you do need stopping trains between Norwich & Cambridge, like you do between Norwich & Ipswich, you only have to look at the A11 & A140 in the mornings to see that, "so called small towns" and getting bigger, places like Hethersett, Spooner Row, Flordon, Tivetshall and so on. Norwich to Cambridge non stop would be like running empty stock around

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    Derek McDonald

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014

  • NO NO NO we do not need silly little stops on this route, it needs to be fast direct and efficient only calling at major stations. Norwich and Cambridge are important, with Ely as an interchange. Not long forgotten towns with tiny populations.

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    Mooseyt4

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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