At last - go ahead for longer trains on King’s Lynn to London line

PUBLISHED: 09:06 15 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:06 15 February 2019

A Great Northern line train heading out of Downham Market Railway Station towards King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

A Great Northern line train heading out of Downham Market Railway Station towards King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

Overcrowded trains could soon be a thing of the past on one of Norfolk’s busiest rail routes.

For rail chiefs have agreed to fund station improvements which will mean eight-carriage trains can run all the way between King’s Lynn and London.

Services are currently limited to four carriages between Cambridge and Lynn, because platforms at two stations are too short for longer trains.

But now Network Rail has agreed to extend platforms at Waterbeach and Littleport, and provide extra sidings at Lynn.

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said: “I am delighted that funding has now been agreed. This is extremely positive and will be welcomed by the many rail users who have become increasingly frustrated by the overcrowding on the Fenline.

“More and more travellers are using this train route and I will continue to ensure delivery remains on time and Network Rail keeps to its timetable of works with completion summer 2020.”

In a letter to Ms Truss Matt Brennan, Network Rail’s public affairs manager, said: “As we have said previously, everyone at Network Rail appreciates the desire amongst residents, local representatives and our partners at Great Northern to see this scheme delivered.

“We know that existing four car peak trains on this line are overcrowded just now, and that extending trains would add much-needed capacity.

“We now expect work to start in October 2019, with the infrastructure completed by Summer 2020. Due to the increased levels of confidence now required within the rail industry to apply for new timetables, Great Northern will look to introduce the longer eight car services in December 2020.”

Passenger groups and politicians have been campaigning for improved services on the Lynn to London line.

As well as longer trains, they are calling for long-awaited improvements to Ely North Junction, at Queen Adelaide, where the region’s major rail routes meet.

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