Campaigner 'more convinced than ever' about new light rail link
- Credit: Archant
A man campaigning for a new light railway to link Peterborough with Great Yarmouth via the north Norfolk coast has vowed to keep fighting for the idea.
Terry Wilding, from Potter Heigham, said such a railway would be more efficient, cheaper to run and better for the environment than either heavy rail or buses.
Mr Wilding, a former tram driver, presented the plan at a North Norfolk Labour Party meeting in Cromer last year after working on it for about three years.
He said: “I’m not giving up on the idea. Eventually when everything gets back to normal I’ll start petitioning for it.
“The more I learn about it the more I’m convinced it would work. In 2018 over eight million people came to Norfolk, not necessarily for long stays but for one or two nights onwards and that alone justifies better transport."
The 150-mile route would take in stops including King’s Lynn, Wells, Sheringham, Holt, North Walsham and Caister. There would also be stops at Cromer, Worstead, Stalham, Sutton, Catfield, Martham, Hemsby and Ormesby.
Mr Wilding said Derby-based Bombardier would be a good choice of manufacturer for the light trains. He said 18 would be needed to run a service with trains leaving every 30 minutes across Norfolk.
Mr Wilding said: "It is difficult to estimate the cost of installation of a light rail system, but as most of the land is farmland there would be less interference with the local infrastructure, so I believe it would be built for less than £1 billion."
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Mr Wilding said such a link would give people fast and reliable transport across Norfolk and would bring more money into the county.
He added: "People are staying in the UK rather than going abroad, and that’s making Norfolk even more attractive.
“If the government can afford to spend as much as they are on HS2 they could afford a couple of hundred million for a light rail network across Norfolk.”
“Out of the options: bus, rail and light rail, light rail is the most practical. It’s cheaper to run than trains or buses, although it is a bit more expensive to establish than buses. Heavy rail is not as flexible, and you can carry a lot more passengers than buses."