City tourist train bid hits the buffers

SHAUN LOWTHORPE Plans to run a tourist train through Norwich hit the buffers yesterday after civic leaders ruled a key part of the city centre out of bounds. Councillors in Norwich approved the concept but agreed they should not be allowed in Gentleman's Walk.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

Plans to run a tourist train through Norwich hit the buffers yesterday after civic leaders ruled a key part of the city centre out of bounds.

Councillors in Norwich approved the concept but agreed they should not be allowed in Gentleman's Walk.

Former city councillor Ian Williams, who is behind a route operated by a new firm, Discover Norwich, had hoped members of the Norwich Highways Agency committee would support his plans for a train including along the busy city street every hour between 10am and 4pm.

Trains would tie in with the city's spatial metro project to promote heritage and culture and give tourists, the elderly and the disabled, an easy way to access the history of the city, he said.

A stop had been agreed at Norwich Cathedral, and he also hoped to stop at Elm Hill, Dragon Hall, and Bridewell Alley.

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“The reason I would want to use Gentleman's Walk is because it's in the heart of the city,” he said. “The whole point is to show the range of buildings and historical artefacts.”

But councillors raised concerns that a train in Gentleman's Walk would pose a risk to the public.

Labour councillor Brenda Ferris, said while she supported the idea, the Walk should not be part of the route.

“Gentleman's Walk is so crowded at all times of the day that it would be totally unsafe,” she said.

The decision means a return to the drawing board before submitting a scheme to Norfolk County Council for approval.

“These trains run well in the rest of Europe - why does Norwich have a problem with it?” Mr Williams said.

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