Norwich could lose direct train link to Liverpool

Friday, June 27, 2014
9:59 AM

Britain’s longest east to west rail link could be broken up in a “regressive” plan which will see the loss of a direct train from Norwich to Merseyside.

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Business leaders said the planned shake up will only add to the region’s infrastructure difficulties, and has called on the government to rethink its plans. The Department for Transport wants to transfer the track from Nottingham to Liverpool, currently operated by East Midlands trains, to the TransPennine express, meaning trains from Norwich would stop in Nottingham and a change would be required.

More than 4.5 million passengers use the services which directly link Norwich, Thetford and Ely to Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool, and about 350,000 travel through Nottingham on the line each year.

Chris Starkie, managing director of New Anglia LEP, said: “The Government has made a commitment to increase investment in east to west high-speed lines between northern cities. These plans fly contrary to that and will result in East Anglia losing a vital direct link to the north and north-west.

“Our growing population and economy demands infrastructure that is fit for purpose, including improved connections by rail, road, air and sea. Now is the time we should be seeing further enhancement and investment to our rail links. We call on the Transport Secretary to rethink this regressive proposal.”

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, who heads the East Anglian Rail Prospectus, said: “We lack good east to west links in this country and it will be a great shame to lose one of them that does already exist, and that serves both business and leisure passengers alike going across the country from Norwich westwards.”

A DfT spokesperson said they were seeking views on the plans and no final decision had been made.

She said: “We are investing record amounts in building a world-class rail network. This means more seats, improved connections and better journeys for millions of passengers. To make sure we make the most of this investment, it is vital we hear the views of the people who use these services.

“As part of our consultation into the Northern and Transpennine Express franchises, we are seeking views on whether to transfer the Liverpool – Nottingham section of the East Midlands Trains franchise to Transpennine Express. However, no final decision has been made.”

Nova Fairbank, from the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce said: “The Norfolk business community has long identified that one of the key barriers to growth in Norfolk is lack of decent infrastructure in terms of both road and rail. The proposed changes to the Norwich to Liverpool train service will mean there is no longer a direct connection between Norfolk and Liverpool, which can only add to the difficulties faced by Norfolk businesses.”

A spokeswoman for East Midlands Trains said:

“We believe that in reaching its final decision the DfT needs to consider the value of maintaining a direct train service between the North West and East Anglia. The impact of splitting the service at Nottingham would directly affect around 350,000 passengers a year who use the route to travel through Nottingham, whose journeys may be extended by any timetable change. We believe it would also have a detrimental impact on passenger journeys in the east of the network.”

19 comments

  • The railways need investment, sack stations are known as rat traps that are prone to delays the moment somethiong happens, All major London Stations are like this. But we want a fast train, HS2 and HS3, cheap Chinese constructions which will siphon the budget away from other projects. Nationalise Rail!

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, June 28, 2014

  • Oh for a train like the one in the picture. @mooseyt4 - eat your heart out! We're going Norwich-London-Bristol-Preston-London-Norwich over 4days soon for less than £200 - and not an EM train in sight! Gtr Anglia FGWVirgin amongst others, no doubt along the way TPE

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    biglingers

    Saturday, June 28, 2014

  • We need improved rail links not worse! We are desperate for a decent rail service to the West of the country - not a worse one!

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    Lynda Edwards

    Saturday, June 28, 2014

  • Norfolk has an Inadequate and antiquated road to the north and midland called the A47. The A140 to Ipswich which is absolutely pathetic, An Airport with Laughably four Scheduled Destinations, an compared with Other cities a poor quality Train service. Norfolk has always been A backwater with lack of Infrastructure and poor communications. N.F.N!!.

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    wickobi

    Saturday, June 28, 2014

  • Originally in the 1980s it was a Norwich to Birmingham every two hours which was loco hauled then in the mid eighties there was one gt Yarmouth to liverpool train weekdays then in 1988 modern units were built and the old trains with drawn still Norwich to Birmingham then slowly more trains to liverpool came on stream under regional railways after privatisation the line was split the Norwich to Birmingham became central trains etc when finally east midlands took over the Norwich liverpool section and birmingham became cross country from stanstesd as for the bt train that finished in the mid eighties never served Norwich was harwich to manchester and later edinburgh and Glasgow when it was the European back to today. After the new franchise half hourly Norwich to Cambridge will be on the cards when Ely junction is changed so possible half hourly to Peterborough round Ely curve would be good and then connecting into edinburgh trains at peterbrough which don't happen at the moment at least a 30 min wait before a connection to Leeds or nearly a hour before York and the north

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    Glenn Rivett

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • Daisy - the intermediate stations from Cambridge to Norwich were dropped as they are now served by the Greater Anglia Norwich - Cambridge Trains, which didn't used to exist. Places like Brandon have no place on the Norwich - Liverpool Lime St route at all.

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    Mooseyt4

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • Moosey- I know GY no longer needs the Boat train-but Norwich does- unless we are all going to fly up to ManchesterLiverpool. The comment about going via London-is that an option at the same price? Wasnt last time I looked. And I agree with Jennifer Jane- it is absurd having a line which can carry commuter traffic from Norwich to Cambridge etc and not having it stop at more of the stations on the line-which is used to do and still provide a decent service.

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    Daisy Roots

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • Instead of comparing the rolling stock with the inadequate stuff to which we have become accustomed, why not compare it with the days when the train was known as the " boat train" , when the rolling stock was broadly comparable with that used on the Norfolk to London lines. Why shouldnt we expect a decent non change journey east to west-not all rail passengers are fit young people able to change trains easily and many hacking that long distance will have luggage. The aim should be to force train companies to provide decent long distance travel which can also be used by commuters, not expect long distance travellers to spend their whole journey in carriages designed for short distance commuter travel.

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    Daisy Roots

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • Most passengers travel from Norwich to Peterborough section and from notts to manchester section make the Norwich to Peterborough half hourly and fill the gap from 19.40 to 21.40 from Peterborough to Norwich in the Evening. With the units saved from the north section always a better way not too sure I would want to pendo 5 hours on a cramped 158 a way. Trnspennie are better trains 185 with first class as well always quicker to travel via London or change at Peterborough via Leeds to manchester or liverpool can't see its going to make much difference

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    Glenn Rivett

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • Instead of HS2 and HS3 the government need to get a good service cross country. That journey needs to be speeded up rather than slowed even more by a change of train. EM stopped the trains calling at Brandon, Attleborough and Wymondham ( except odd trip) to speed up the journey time. We need some joined up thinking not some civil servant thinking they know best.

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    jennifer jane

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • @Mooseyt4 - you seem remarkably well informed! Since when is Gt Yarmouth a city? also how do you know what trains tpe will use? Perhaps you could do us mere mortals a favour by passing on some of your wisdom!

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    biglingers

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • But it would be a crying shame to loose this service, I use it every now and again and much prefer the direct route over going via London. Changing trains in Nottingham is just stupid.

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    Mooseyt4

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • Daisy - Yarmouth has the service it requires. It doesn't need more trains. It is not an important city anymore. I'm sorry you have not moved on with the times, but deal with it

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    Mooseyt4

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • biglingers - the trains would be the current 158 trains, they would just be split between the 2 operators. TPE already uses its newer trains on other routes, so they wouldn't show up on this route.

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    Mooseyt4

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • Sadly those of us from this part of the country lose out by the continued media reference to the "North-South Divide".It's as much the East-West divide too but few look at it from the point of view of the bit of England.This loss of service can only widen those existing divisions when they need strengthening.

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    Peter Watson

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • @Max Headroom - you took the words out of my mouth - I couldn't have put it better! Bring it on!! First Transpennine trains are bigger (usually more carriages) and more modern, thus more comfortable. I travel via London where possible. I call this E.M. train 'the cattletruck'. It's a pity transpennine don't take it all over, as the current operator gives the impression anything south of Nottingham is a pain in the neck to them, on this route.

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    biglingers

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • Another kick in the teeth for Norfolk railways, all they seem to think about these days is a decent service in the North and Midlands, the DfT should think what is doing to East Anglia

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    Derek McDonald

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • Beggars belief doesnt it. We used to have this brilliant train service which brought train loads of tourists straight to Yarmouth. Then it is downgraded to "local" style carriages but still gives a decent link to Liverpool and points in between. Now another kick in the teeth for the eastern region which keeps earning and keeps paying into the pot and gets s*d all back. I read that we are the lowest funded area under the government distribution of funding. We receive 83% of sum x whilst regions like Yorkshire and Humberside get 115% Even Southwest England gets more than us.

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    Daisy Roots

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • The journey from Norwich to Manchester and beyond is a bone-shaking nightmare at best. I avoid it if possible. Changing in Nottingham could make it a more pleasant experience overall. Real efforts need to be made to get the Norwich - London route useable. At the moment you cannot rely on it for anything important.

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    Max Headroom

    Friday, June 27, 2014

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

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