Fears that rail shake-up could hit Norfolk economy

A proposed shake-up could see the end to direct trains between Norwich and Liverpool. Photo: Rui Vie

A proposed shake-up could see the end to direct trains between Norwich and Liverpool. Photo: Rui Vieira/PA - Credit: PA

Norfolk's economy would be dealt a blow if proposals to stop direct trains between Norwich and Liverpool go ahead, councillors have claimed.

The government last month launched a consultation to shake up train franchises in the north of England.

One of the proposals would see the Norwich to Liverpool service, currently operated by East Midlands Trains, changed.

The consultation seeks views on transferring the Nottingham to Liverpool portion of the Norwich to Liverpool service to the TransPennine Express franchise.

If that happens, then one of the effects would be that there would no longer be a direct train service between Norwich and Liverpool. Instead, passengers would have to change at Nottingham.

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And, at a meeting of Norfolk County Council's economic development subcommittee today, councillors expressed their concerns over that change.

Councillors agreed the authority should write to rail bosses to urge them to think again.

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In its response, the council will say: 'This service provides a crucial national east-west link connecting Norfolk with major locations including Peterborough, Nottingham, Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool.

'We understand that 350,000 passengers a year travel through Nottingham on the Liverpool-Norwich trains, about 8pc of the route total.

'This is considered to be a fairly high number of people, and not the 'relatively small amount of cross-Nottingham traffic' as described in the consultation.

'In addition, passenger journeys and passenger satisfaction have increased on the route, and punctuality improved (currently 92% of trains are on time).

'Given the performance of the route, the numbers of passengers travelling through Nottingham and the importance of the direct east-west connection we do not support a split.

'In addition, we believe that there is further potential to be realised from the direct Norwich to Liverpool service as a direct east-west link.'

? Would you be affected if the direct link between Norwich and Liverpool was axed? Tell us your views by writing to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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