New Norfolk group to fight for better trains
A new rail group is to be created to fight to get better train services for Norfolk people and businesses.
While Norfolk's MPs have been vocal in putting pressure on Network Rail and train operators, another group which can influence decision-makers is to be set up.
Over the past few years, Norfolk County Council has convened two rail groups - the Norfolk Rail Policy Group and the Norfolk Rail Alliance.
But, because there was an overlap between the two groups and the newly-formed New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership has taken on responsibility for strategic investment thinking, it has been agreed that the Norfolk Rail Alliance should be scrapped.
Instead, new life will be breathed into the Norfolk Rail Policy Group, which will be an over-arching county-wide rail group pushing for improvements, made up of councillors, rail industry members, users groups and local enterprise partnerships.
Among the issues the group, renamed the Norfolk Rail Group, will focus on are: • Backing the Norwich in Ninety campaign - cutting journey times and improving the quality of services between Norwich and London.
• Increasing frequency of trains between King's Lynn and London, and between Norwich and Cambridge.
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• Better east to west connections.
• Improvements on the lines to Sheringham, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.
Graham Plant, cabinet member for planning and transportation, said at a meeting of the county council cabinet yesterday, where the new group's terms of reference were agreed, that the new group would be more effective at lobbying.
Meanwhile, Norwich North MP Chloe Smith will this week chair a second summit meeting to discuss ways to improve rail services.
She will be joined at Westminster by fellow MPs, representatives from Local Enterprise Partnerships, councils and train operating companies, including Greater Anglia, which runs services from Norwich to London.
She said: 'This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for a commitment to the long-term benefit of the East Anglian, Norfolk and Norwich economies.
'This summit is a working session to present emerging work. It is part of a much longer sequence including vital political lobbying for our area. We have a passionate, unified campaign emerging which makes simple, right demands.'
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