Rail campaigners - including North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb - set to push for improvements to Bittern Line at special meeting

Rail campaigners will be urging the government to make further improvements to the popular Bittern Line at a special meeting tomorrow (Friday).

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb is chairing the meeting, which has been organised as government ministers prepare to address franchising arrangements, and will be joined by local councillors to lobby members of the Department for Transport (DfT).

They will be calling on representatives from the DfT's rail franchising policy team to look at long-term improvements for the line, such as more frequent trains to address the problems of overcrowding.

Passenger numbers on the Bittern Line, which runs for 30 miles from Norwich to Sheringham, have increased by 200pc since the community rail partnership began running the service in the 1990s. But as its popularity has increased there have been continued calls for improvements.

Mr Lamb said: 'The Bittern Line service has been incredibly successful over the last decade and it is important that we keep improving the service to maximise its usefulness to people in north Norfolk.'

Eric Seward, North Walsham Town Council's representative on the Bittern Line Partnership, added: 'We want improved services on the Bittern Line with more frequent trains, which will help address problems of overcrowding and encourage more people to use the service.

'The only way to get this is to tighten up the franchise requirements and this (the meeting) is the start of the process to bring that about.'

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The meeting is being held at Mr Lamb's constituency office in North Walsham and was arranged after he wrote to rail minister Theresa Villiers, urging her to ensure the line was given proper attention as the government considers franchising arrangements.