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Red, white and blue makeover for Downham Market Railway Station

PUBLISHED: 15:45 28 April 2017 | UPDATED: 13:05 02 May 2017

Chris Green (from left), from the Railway Heritage Trust; Colin Sampson, from the Fen Line Users Association; Andrew Sidgwick, from Great Northern;  Elizabeth Truss and station manager Graham Pratt at Downham Market Station. Picture: Chris Bishop

Chris Green (from left), from the Railway Heritage Trust; Colin Sampson, from the Fen Line Users Association; Andrew Sidgwick, from Great Northern; Elizabeth Truss and station manager Graham Pratt at Downham Market Station. Picture: Chris Bishop

Archant

One of Norfolk’s prettiest railway stations looks a picture in red, white and blue.

Downham Market Station, which has a had a heritage refurb. Picture: Chris BishopDownham Market Station, which has a had a heritage refurb. Picture: Chris Bishop

Downham Market’s carr stone booking office and waiting room have been repainted in the Network South East livery they last sported 30 years ago.

The late 1980s were a time of celebration on the Fen Line line between King’s Lynn and Cambridge, as campaigners won their bid to have the route electrified.

Now passengers sit on bright red benches while they’re waiting for their train.

“I think it’s pretty good, it brightens the place up,” said Colin Sampson, chair of the Fen Line Users Association. “Red, white and blue is a nice colour combination.”

Andrew Sidgwick, programme manager for Great Northern, which runs trains between Lynn and London, said: “This is one of many things we, as a train operator, are looking at doing in Downham Market. There’ll be new ticketing machines, timetabling improvements, lots of good stuff coming up over the next couple of years.”

Chris Green, former director of Virgin Trains is now an advisor to the Railway Heritage Trust, which helped fund the £64,000 makeover.

“It’s great to see a line bulging with passengers and needing more trains and tracks,” he said. “I like what I’m seeing today. I commend a visit to the toilets - they’re superb.”

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said: “It’s great to see the heritage look which has gone on at the station. I haven’t visited the loo yet, so I’ll be doing that in due course.”

Ms Truss has been spearheading the campaign for improvements at Ely North Junction a few miles south of Downham, which would ease a bottleneck and allow more frequent services between Lynn and London.

Councils and business leaders have agreed to fund an £8m feasibility study into the upgrade, which will cost more than £35m. Last year, campaigners were told the project would have to wait until at least 2019. Ms Truss said the work was “enormously important” to the local economy.

Back on Platform One, officials are also hopeful of finding a new tenant for the former Railway Arms, a lineside micro-pub which closed in October after a row over rent.

Prospective tenants have been shown around and a tendering process will begin shortly to find the right local, independent business to take it over.


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