Plea to save ‘vital’ Norwich to Liverpool direct train made to transport secretary
PUBLISHED: 17:51 18 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:51 18 May 2018
A plea to save a “vital” direct train service from Norwich to Liverpool has been made to key power brokers in government.
Norfolk County Council’s environment, development and transport committee - which has representatives from all three main parties, as well as one independent - has written an open letter to transport secretary Chris Grayling, emphasising how important they see the direct Norwich to Liverpool Lime Street service.
The service, which provides the region’s main train link to the north of England, passes through such other major cities as Manchester, Sheffield and Nottingham.
However, a central government consultation into the future of the East Midlands franchise questioned whether the service would be better off split in either Nottingham or Sheffield.
With its future as a direct service still in doubt, every member of the committee has now signed the letter asking the government to keep things how they are.
Conservative councillor Thomas Smith said: “I always find it incredible we even have to discuss saving the service.”
Terry Jermy, Labour councillor, said: “It is obvious that the more changes people have to make on their journeys, the more issues travellers have. It only takes one train to be late and the rest of the connections are affected.”
Tim East, Liberal Democrat councillor, added: “The service is so important in my view and needs to be kept direct.”
The letter reads: “The Norwich to Liverpool service provides a vital direct link between East Anglia and the north and north-west.
“The existing direct connection is well-used by travellers including business people, students and leisure travellers.
“There has long been support from across a wide variety of stakeholders to retain this direct service; it is supported by businesses, in academia and by residents.
“We strongly support its retention and urge you to include this in the specification for the new franchise when it is awarded in 2019.”
The franchise is currently run by Stagecoach-owned East Midlands Trains but this expires in August next year, with fears a new franchise could not include a direct Norwich to Liverpool service.