Pot luck: Unreliable public transport is driving residents in north Norfolk round the bend

Campaigners David Hurdle and James Thomson are calling for better bus and train links in north Norfo

Campaigners David Hurdle and James Thomson are calling for better bus and train links in north Norfolk. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: ALLY McGILVRAY

While rail passenger numbers have increased 170 per cent at Sheringham over the last 17 years, the lack of links with buses is leaving many frustrated.

Campaigners David Hurdle and James Thomson are calling for better bus and train links in north Norfo

Campaigners David Hurdle and James Thomson are calling for better bus and train links in north Norfolk. They are pictured on the level crossing at the mainline station in Sheringham. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: ALLY McGILVRAY

Unreliable public transport is driving residents in north Norfolk round the bend.

While rail passenger numbers have increased 170 per cent at Sheringham over the last 17 years, the lack of links with buses is leaving many frustrated. Described as the smallest rail terminus in the country, it links rail passengers from Norwich and beyond with a bus service to Holt.

Now campaigners, who have published a study on services at the town's transport interchange, are urging operators to get together to agree improvements - with better timetabled services, less waiting time for passengers switching to an onward connection, and a through ticketing system which allows them to complete their journey with just a single ticket.

One of the report's authors, David Hurdle, a transport planning consultant and resident of Sheringham, said: 'We have analysed every single bus and train journey to ascertain the connection times at Sheringham station and the results clearly demonstrate that a reasonable interchange time is currently a matter of pot luck and that buses rarely connect off and onto trains.


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'Yet we show that change would be possible if the two operators, Greater Anglia and Sanders Coaches, talked to each other.

'Public transport would become more attractive to use, thereby benefitting both operators and through bus/train tickets would also boost ridership.'

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The report was co-authored by retired surgeon James Thomson, from Holt, who was left stranded in Sheringham at midnight after the coach company failed to wait after his train arrived three minutes late.

He said: 'I frequently use the bus to connect to go to London and I am concerned about the long time one has to wait here because in the winter it's bitterly cold, this shelter is not really enough to keep you warm.'

Both Greater Anglia and Sanders Coaches revealed they were constantly reviewing their services and through-ticketing was already being discussed.

Charles Sanders, managing director of the Holt-based bus company, said: 'We will take into account anything we receive the next time we do a review.'

Among the figures highlighted in the report, it states that during the week, just three trains out of 17 are met with a bus connection to Holt within what states is a reasonable time of between six and 15 minutes, and that is reduced to just one on a Sunday.

And, on the return journey, many buses arrive between five minutes before and ten minutes after the train departs.

A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: 'We have received a copy of the report and are always looking to further improve integrated transport links by working in partnership with other transport operators. We are already working with bus companies and the Bittern Line community rail partnership, and the Bittern Line ranger ticket permits travel on the Coasthopper bus service, which operates in north Norfolk.

'Over the past 20 years we have consistently worked to improve local transport links. We welcome the input and feedback, and we will continue to make rail a more attractive option for travel in Sheringham.'

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