Overcrowding on the King’s Lynn to Cambridge railway line looks set to improve after the government agreed to fund eight-car trains on the route.
After months of lobbying, the department for transport’s decision means eight-car trains can be introduced at peak times.
Work to prepare stations is due to start in October, but the longer trains are not expected to run until December 2020.
South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss has been championing the project and was among politicians to meet with Network Rail and Govia Thames Link Railways (GTR)earlier this month.
Ms Truss said: “I am delighted that funding has now been agreed. This is extremely positive and will be welcomed by the many rail users who have become increasingly frustrated by the overcrowding on the Fen Line.
“More and more travellers are using this train route and I will continue to ensure delivery remains on time and Network Rail keeps to its timetable of works with completion in summer 2020.”
Platforms at Littleport and Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire will need to be extended to prevent the longer trains from overhanging level crossings and new stabling is planned at Lynn rail station.
Work is expected to be completed by next summer, but the longer trains will not be introduced immediately.
The meeting, held in Downham Market, was told GTR could only bid for a timetable when it was confident the necessary infrastructure would be in place.
Rail and freight operators develop a timetable they would like to run in their areas and Network Rail co-ordinates the national timetable, which is updated twice a year in December and May.