Weight has been added to concerns expressed at a new train timetable proposed for the King’s Lynn to King’s Cross route.
South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss and West Norfolk Council have spoken out about operator Great Northern’s proposed timetable which would see journey times to and from the capital increase by eight to 12 minutes in 2018.
The proposals would see trains stop for longer at Cambridge towards London and at Littleport towards King’s Lynn to avoid delays to the new cross-London Thameslink system.
Ms Truss said: “I am extremely concerned that there is a proposal to lengthen journey times. I have long been campaigning to have our rail routes upgraded with increased services and this to me is a backwards step.
“Business and tourism, regular rail commuters, all want shorter journeys and I will be speaking to Govia Thameslink later this week raising my concerns about this proposal.”
The council, the Fen Line Users’ Association and the King’s Lynn Business Improvement District (BID) are calling on the Government to find a way to maintain and improve existing journey times; honour a previous commitment for trains every 30 minutes between King’s Lynn and King’s Cross during peak times; and introduce trains every 30 minutes between King’s Lynn and Cambridge at peak times.
Councillor Brian Long, leader of West Norfolk Council, said: “It is vital our requests are taken into account as the area is being left at a disadvantage because of the lack of progress.
“We expect to see the promised work on Ely North Junction taking place and we also want the single-line sections between there and King’s Lynn returned to a two-track line.
“It’s time that our railway line was dragged out of the 80s and brought up to date and in line with other modern railway lines.”
Colin Sampson, chairman of the Fen Line Users’ Association, said: “More and more people are travelling to Cambridge and London – they expect decent trains and a decent train service.
“Cutting back on the frequencies promised last autumn – and slowing things down on top of that – is unacceptable. FLUA thinks fares should be reduced to compensate.”
Darren Taylor, chairman of King’s Lynn BID, said: “I welcome 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.
“We need to make our dissatisfaction clear to Government.”
The timetable consultation deadline ends next week.
To view and comment on Great Northern’s proposals go online to: www.transformingrail.com by 5pm on Thursday.