First passengers set to take 90 minute train from Norwich to London
- Credit: Archant
The first train making the journey from Norwich to London in just 90 minutes will depart today following a decade long campaign to reduce travel time to and from the capital.
Train operator Greater Anglia has introduced extra services between Norwich, Ipswich and London Liverpool Street to speed up travel, which will run four times a day from Monday to Saturday.
The first service will leave Norwich at 9am, calling at Ipswich around 30 minutes later before running straight through to London Liverpool Street. Further 90 minutes services will depart at 5pm from Norwich and at 11am and 7pm from London Liverpool Street.
Greater Anglia said the changes would shave 12 minutes off the current fastest journey between Norwich and London and cut the fastest journey between Ipswich and London by four minutes, achieved by removing extra stops in Essex.
Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership said: "When we began the Norwich in 90 campaign a decade ago many people said it would not happen, but from today four trains a day will be delivering just that.
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"This upgrade in services is what businesses have been calling for and will make it far easier and more attractive to do business in Norwich and Norfolk and will be a huge boost to our local economy.
"But we are not resting on our laurels and are continuing to campaign for upgrades to the infrastructure which will allow Norwich in 90 to be the standard journey time for the route."
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The drive for Norwich in 90 started before the general election in 2010, and was backed by a number of business leaders and MPs, including Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, who described the launch as a "massive win for the region".
She said: "I led the campaign which successfully secured the trains because it is so important to jobs - with a more reliable service, thousands more jobs will come to Norwich.
"That's as well as the improvement to those who already need the trains to get to work or get home to family."
Chris Sargisson, chief executive of Norfolk Chambers of Commerce: "Norfolk Chambers has been campaigning for an improved rail service for many years and we are delighted that Norwich in 90 is now becoming a reality.
"The new Greater Anglia timetable with the first two services for Norwich in 90 are the first steps towards delivering a transformation of rail services for commuters and business travellers alike, which will be worth billions of pounds of investment to Norfolk and East Anglia."