Members of King’s Lynn BID – the town centre’s business improvement company – have this week expressed their concerns at a new train timetable being proposed by operator Great Northern.
A consultation by the rail operator closes on Thursday, July 27 and BID chairman Darren Taylor said there is good news and bad.
He said the good news is that trains will be made up of eight carriages all the way from Lynn to London which should relieve overcrowding.
However, BID is concerned trains will be slowed down by several minutes by holding them in Cambridge towards London and in Littleport towards Lynn.
Mr Taylor said: “I welcome the bigger trains but, we need them twice an hour, all day.
“I’m concerned that the Fen Line and King’s Lynn specifically, is yet again, being overlooked in favour of investment that will benefit other towns and cities in the East.” He claimed while the investment might be good news for much of South Eastern England, which is served by the franchise, it appeared to be “nothing other than a further worsening of the service offered” for the Fen Line.
“Great Northern’s online consultation document says it all starts next May but the detailed timetables show December 2018 as the start date,” added Mr Taylor.
BID has contacted North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham, county and borough councillors, local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) and the Fen Line Users’ Association to put pressure on the company not to go ahead with the change, which BID claims could cost the West Norfolk economy up to £35m a year in lost business.
Mr Taylor has also urged members of the public to add their concerns to the consultation at www.transformingrail.com
In response, a spokesman for Great Northern said: ‘Doubling the length of trains between King’s Lynn and Cambridge from next year will allow us to meet the increasing capacity demands in the East Anglia region.
“The wider infrastructure challenges in the region are being addressed through the Ely area task force, led by Elizabeth Truss MP and is jointly made up of Great Northern, Network Rail, FLUA, regional MPs, LEPs and local authority representatives.
“£8.8 million of funding was confirmed in March for a feasibility study of proposed major infrastructure upgrade works in the region.
“Our timetable proposals reflect the need for a minor increase in dwell times at stations and to improve performance on the single line tracks between King’s Lynn and Cambridge.
“Passengers can find out what the changes mean for their journey at transformingrail.com or request paper copies by post
“The consultation into the weekday timetables runs until 5pm July 27.
“Weekend timetables will be shared later in the year.”