Transport users’ group calls for refurbishment of Yarmouth railway station

Abellio have been awarded the franchise for the east's rail services. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Abellio have been awarded the franchise for the east's rail services. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A group for users of public transport in East Norfolk has called for Great Yarmouth's railway station to be refurbished in the next franchise.

Steve Hewitt, of the East Norfolk Transport Users Association, said they had three main things they were looking for from Abellio Greater Anglia in the nine-year East Anglian rail franchise.

These were to do up the station, to see more trains leaving Yarmouth, and the replacement of the current fleet.

On Wednesday, Abellio was confirmed by the Department for Transport as the operator of franchise, which will commence on the October 16.

This concluded the 'standstill' period after the DfT's August 10 announcement naming Abellio as 'preferred bidder' for the contract.

And as one part of a package of improvements promised by the operator, rail services in the region look set to benefit from 1,043 new carriages to replace the entire fleet.

Mr Hewitt said: 'We've had the promise of new trains which is most important. There's only so many times these trains can be refurbished, they all need to be replaced.

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'We also want more services starting in Great Yarmouth, it's ridiculous that you have to get four trains to get to Stansted. We just want to be able to offer passengers the choice to go somewhere.'

He said ideally this would see the introduction of a train leaving the station every half an hour, rather than the current timetable of one an hour.

He said: 'If you miss your train you're not going to wait another hour, you'll walk into town and get the bus.'

And while plans for improvements announced by Abellio didn't include anything specific about Great Yarmouth, it did outline a £60m investment in stations.

Mr Hewitt was keen to see changes made at the town's station. He said: 'It needs to be more hospitable. The platforms are open to the elements, the waiting room is locked, we can't access the toielts and we have to go through the side after 5pm. You have better facilities at a little station like Acle.'

Jamie Burles, Managing Director of Abellio Greater Anglia, said: 'This package of improvements will deliver transformational change across our entire network in a relatively short period of time. We can't buy new trains 'off the shelf', but we are making sure that customers see improvements early in the new franchise.

'We look forward to supporting the economic growth of what is one of the UK's fastest growing regions to deliver a world-class railway service that our customers, our colleagues and our stakeholders can be proud of.'

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