Revamp of King’s Lynn train station starts on Monday
Work to revamp the entrance to King's Lynn's Victorian railway station will start on Monday.
Train operator First Capital Connect hopes the installation of new automatic ticket barriers at the main entrance to platforms one and two will be finished by April.
New CCTV cameras will also be installed to monitor the barriers and there will be a new customer information office at the station, just off Blackfriars Road.
First Capital Connect has said the barriers are being installed as part of a commitment to the Department for Transport and to help improve security at the station.
It also hopes the barriers will help stop people travelling without a ticket and halt crime and vandalism.
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West Norfolk Council awarded First Capital Connect listed building consent for the works in December.
Keith Jipps, customer service director at First Capital Connect, said: 'Ticketless travel costs the railway industry around �200m every year – money that could be invested into service improvements – and is hugely frustrating for fare-paying customers.'
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The side entrance to the station from the car park has already been closed off to passengers as part of the improvement work.
This sparked outrage amongst passengers and the move came under fire from the town's civic society which claimed closing off the side entrance would inconvenience the elderly, the disabled and those with heavy luggage.
Last night Sally Smith, secretary of the King's Lynn Civic Society, said: 'We were dismayed to hear the work was going to begin.
'We had asked them to put the barriers a few metres back which would allow people to use the side entrance and to put a barrier along the platform to stop people jumping on to the track to avoid the barriers.
'It is quite a long way round for people who find it difficult to walk and in this day and age, where disabled and elderly people and organisations are supposed to be consulted, we are cross it appears they have completely disregarded the customer. We weren't asking them to do much. It would have been so simple to just to move the barriers back a little way then everybody would have been happy.'
Thousands use the station each day, many of them early morning commuters catching the fast through service from Lynn to Cambridge and London King's Cross via Downham Market and Ely.
Among its more famous users are one or two of the celebrities living on the north Norfolk coast – along with the Queen, who brought an end to her annual winter stay at Sandringham by catching a scheduled train from Lynn to London on Wednesday.
Each year the 85-year-old monarch personally buys her first class single ticket and always pre-books.