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New rail study suggests reintroducing direct train service between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft

10:35 02 January 2015

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A study into improving Anglia’s rail network suggests travelling times could be significantly reduced between many stations in our region, but would cost around £1bn to implement.

A direct service between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft

A direct hourly service is proposed between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft for the first time since the 1970s. This is a direct train to and from Ipswich via the East Suffolk line and could cut combined average travel and waiting times by 52 minutes.

It would be reopened via a spur at Reedham, (running time approximately 33 minutes by semi-fast service). Reedham Station would need to be relocated approximately 1,250 yards to the east, immediately north of Holly Farm Road.

Use of connections at Reedham would double the frequency of trains to two per hour on the Norwich to Great Yarmouth and Norwich to Lowestoft corridors.

Key proposals in the Network Rail study include:

• Reintroducing a direct service between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft

• Building a new Ely North station

• Introducing an express from Norwich to London Kings Cross via Cambridge, taking one hour 46 minutes

New Ely North Station

The report points out that at Ely “good connections are the exception rather than the norm”. For example, a passenger travelling from King’s Lynn to Ipswich will have a good connection on their outward journey but on their return leg they will be faced with a 53-minute wait.

Instead of developing the existing capacity-constrained Ely station, the study proposes a new interchange hub station in the vicinity of Ely North Junction and an upgrade of the Ely to Norwich line.

Waiting times at the proposed four-platform Ely North station would mean passengers would not have to wait more than eight minutes.

While the plan would improve many journeys across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, the trade-off would be a slowing down of trains on the main line between London and East Anglia.

The document, called “Improving Connectivity”, suggests that trains between Ipswich and Norwich should be slowed down by nine minutes to improve links at other stations and that trains on the main line should stop at more stations.

This runs counter to the “Norwich in 90. Ipswich in 60” proposal of the Great Eastern Rail Taskforce, of which Network Rail is a member.

The proposals are endorsed by Peter Wilkinson, managing director of passenger services at the Department for Transport Rail Executive.

Express service from Norwich to London via Cambridge

Two express services are proposed on the West Anglia Main Line: Kings Cross - Norwich via Cambridge and a cross-country service from Stansted via Peterborough.

A cross-country express would cut the Norwich to Peterborough journey time by 19 minutes to one hour 15 minutes.

The London express runs via Cambridge and reduces the Norwich to Cambridge journey time by 18 minutes to 55 minutes and the Norwich to London journey time on this route to one hour 46 minutes, providing a viable alternative route to the already congested Great Eastern Main Line between Norwich and London Liverpool Street.

If necessary infrastructure was put in place the plan would also be to include a stop at Finsbury Park on this route to give passengers from Norfolk links to Gatwick Airport and many destinations on the Thameslink network south of London.

He writes in the introduction: “I welcome this work and we at the DfT are first looking to bring this to life as part of our forthcoming East Anglia franchise.”

Network Rail has used Anglia as a case study to test its ideas for how to improve train connectivity across the country.

It says that Anglia’s rail usage is extremely London-centric, and that a look at the usage of Anglia’s trunk roads shows that existing rail demand is not an accurate reflection of overall travel demand.

The idea of the study is look at shifting the strategic focus of the network’s development towards providing better across-the-board connectivity, to the extent that a viable alternative to other modes of transport is offered across a wide range of routes.

King’s Lynn to Great Yarmouth

In the case of a journey from Kings Lynn to Great Yarmouth, it means a passenger who turns up at Kings Lynn, without having consulted the timetable, will, on average, arrive at Great Yarmouth 79 minutes earlier with the proposed timetable than with the existing timetable. Similarly, a passenger who wishes to arrive at Great Yarmouth at a specific time, would, on average, be able to set out from Kings Lynn 79 minutes later.

In this instance, the improvement is achieved through a 64-minute reduction in travel time and increase in service frequency from hourly to half-hourly.

The report acknowledges the changes would mean some stations, including Norwich, would require more platforms.

Other infrastructure improvements needed include an upgrade of the lines and speeds between Norwich and Sheringham, and between Norwich and Ely.

So far the cost of the required infrastructure has been estimated at around £1bn.

Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP and co-chair of the Great Eastern Rail Taskforce said: “We welcome any ideas that aim to improve the region’s rail network.

Other siginificant reductions

Other significant reductions in combined average travel and waiting times could include a reduction of 67 minutes between Cromer and Wymondham, 38 minutes between Thetford and Lowestoft, 29 minutes between Sheringham and London, 18 minutes between Diss and North Walsham, 79 minutes between King’s Lynn and Great Yarmouth, 28 minutes between Thetford and March, and 50 minutes between March and Downham Market.

“But we strongly believe there is no business or financial case for any of these ideas.

“We now have a genuine commitment from Government to all our key recommendations and we will be working hard with all those involved to ensure they are delivered on time and to our detailed specifications.”

A consultation is taking place before Network Rail undertakes detailed development work, so it can gather feedback on this approach to planning the rail network and train service.

To see the full document, log on to www.networkrail.co.uk/publications/long-term-planning-process/improving-connectivity/

What is “Improving Connectivity” all about?

This new study, looking at Anglia, is a test case for Network Rail to apply three “principles”, which it thinks could improve the entire country’s network.

It is a new approach to how the rail network could be planned and organised, based on trying to improve connectivity.

For example, trying to reorganise timetables and services so there are more frequent trains and passengers have to spend less time waiting for connecting services.

Whereas in East Anglia, much focus has been on attaining “Norwich in 90” on the already busy Norwich to London line, this approach aims to improve overall travelling times for many passengers in our region who have to change trains in order to reach their destination.

Network Rail is now asking people for their views on this particular approach to planning rail routes and deciding where investment should be made.

With a £1bn plus price tag for Anglia alone, it remains to be seen whether this approach will ever get the go-ahead to enter a more detailed stage of planning.

To comment on the proposals, email improvingconnectivity@networkrail.co.uk or complete the online survey at the address above.

All feedback must be received by January 31, 2015, when the public consultation period closes.

34 comments

  • @Harry R & @thewarrior - there is a proposal, as shown in my earlier post, to reopen March - Wisbech - King's Lynn to provide a direct line from King's Lynn to Peterborough. My understanding is that there is now a proposal to extend this from King's Lynn to Hunstanton. This kind of scheme has already been done in Scotland, so why not here?

    Report this comment

    Edward Millionaireband

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • it is a shame that routes such as March to Wisbech and Wymondham to Dereham and Fakenham have not been considered. Dereham is 3 times the size it was when the line to Norwich closed, and the railway is working.

    Report this comment

    thewarrior

    Sunday, January 4, 2015

  • Politicians have a complete misunderstanding of the long term consequences of their actions,non more than Ernest Marples,,Dr Beeching, and the shameful continuation of their destructive policies by Barbara Castle,who should have known better! My home town of Kings Lynn lost the Dereham link,and The Hunstanton line during this era,and like the Yarmouth Lowestoft network,the lines were ripped up and the land sold off with almost indecent haste! I still believe this part of the world has never recovered from this act of vandalism,and increased road traffic and queueing especially during the summer months could have been avoided if these routes had been left in place! As for the present network,renationalisation and massive investment is the only answer, but it will never happen,because rail has always been the poor relation here, unlike the continent where they quite rightly regard railways as a vital part of the economic structure!

    Report this comment

    Harry Rabinowitz

    Sunday, January 4, 2015

  • Why don't they test the appetite of the private sector to run these new links. Maybe it will bring i some competition to the current monopoly. To be honest even dear old Ms Smith hasnt claimed this report as her own so i would imagine that there is even less reality to it than normal.

    Report this comment

    Parsnip

    Sunday, January 4, 2015

  • I do not think that would be very cost effective Anthony Gower because that would involve replacing a larger length of track, not to mention a new bridge "the less said about that the better ha ha". The East Suffolk Line is already congested and trains could not pass each other past Beccles which would mean doubling the track all the way to Lowestoft. I suppose Network Rail think that it is more cost effective rebuilding a small section of track and making the Oulton Broad North crossing automated.

    Report this comment

    Huddersfieldman

    Saturday, January 3, 2015

  • How about Norwich to Lowestoft via Beccles, using the trackbed from Haddiscoe. The frequency of trains through Oulton Broad North could then be reduced, alleviating traffic congestion.

    Report this comment

    Anthony Gower

    Saturday, January 3, 2015

  • The heavily used Lowestoft - London through trains were withdrawn under the last Labour Government. I contacted our Labour MP about this and his reply was "there was nothing he could do about it" (I still have his letter). These trains were always full by the time they reached Woodbridge and should be a serious contender for reintroduction. Some did the Ipswich - Liverpool Street section without stopping which was superb for Suffolk and some passengers from Gorleston and Yarmouth who preferred parking in Lowestoft rather than changing trains at Norwich. Perhaps when the battery powered EMUs currently being developed enter service they will be used on the East Suffolk line to London Liverpool Street.

    Report this comment

    Port Watcher

    Saturday, January 3, 2015

  • Lowestoft - Yarmouth sounds a good idea to me. I would use it. Tourists would use it too. Nice scenic route, no traffic jams. In hindsight it is a shame that the direct route disappeared, a station at Gorleston halt would have been ideal for the new Beacon Park Business Park etc... Plus trains usually have an advantage over buses for me. e.g. fixed start and stop times, and fixed start and stop locations, I know where the stations are in the UK but I could not tell you where a bus stop would be. The London underground is a classic example of this 'knowing where to get on and off' advantage... Train popularity continues to rise with time. Any penny invested now is a penny well spent for the future, in my opinion. The cutting at Reedham is already there just link it up with track, Network Rail can afford it, they just need political support as it is tax payers money.... or has all the spare local money been wasted on the new WDC offices?

    Report this comment

    Dave01

    Saturday, January 3, 2015

  • Perhaps Network Rail should concentrate of what they have at the moment. Once they get that up and running correctly,if ever, then and only then should they venture out into new areas.

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • Passengers prefer through trains to having to make changes so a through service between Norwich and London Kings Cross would be welcome. However it would make a lot more sense if it also gave other journey opportunities by stopping at Thetford for south Norfolk and north Suffolk passengers, at Ely for March, Peterborough and the midlands, and at Hitchin or Stevenage for the east coast main line. Direct connexions between the capital and major cities should not omit significant intermediate points. It's not that long ago that there was a through limited-stop service between Norwich and Southampton that served a useful purpose for some travellers; unfortunately it had to take a roundabout route around London [crossing so many other main lines] that it took too long to be of much benefit to most people and it was withdrawn. The lesson is to get the balance right between connectivity, duration and destinations.

    Report this comment

    JCW

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • The business case for these ideas are all weak so none will ever see the light of day. Norwich to King's Cross would be easily achievable by changing at Cambridge and offering competitive fares. Extending the current Norwich to Cambridge service to Stansted would be a great improvement.

    Report this comment

    Jimmy Eh

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • Yarmouth to lowestoft via reedham would be a non starter most pass would use the direct bus at least 5 a hour with first bus (most seem to be on free over 60 passes) as for norwich london in 90 will never happen unless the track is doubled from shenfield to manningtree including the chelmsford viaduct .norwich to kings cross could use a build of new IEP trains

    Report this comment

    Glenn Rivett

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • So Steve Barclay is another one making 'empty promises' to con his electors. These Tory MPs, you really can't believe a word they say, what what.

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Spork-Pies

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • @Edward Millionaireband - have taken a look at the website and seen the letter on it from the leader of Peterborough council. I hope it comes to fruition as I would like to move to Wisbech but without the station being approved it is a problem if you don't drive and the nearest stations in all directions, are miles away.

    Report this comment

    Spooky

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • Davman66 - you are correct in what you say, except for one thing - this line closed several years AFTER Beeching swung his axe. Yarmouth - Lowestoft, King's Lynn - Norwich, King's Lynn - March and King's Lynn to Hunstanton were not proposed for closure by Beeching, they were all closed by Labour's Barbara Castle!

    Report this comment

    Norfolk and Good

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • If there was such a huge demand for rail travel between Yarmouth and Lowestoft via Reedham, the service could start immediately, without the need for any new track, simply by reversing trains in the existing Reedham station (as Norwich - Peterborough trains do at Ely). This would only take a few minutes longer, and the result would be exactly the same..... nobody would use it!

    Report this comment

    Edward Millionaireband

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • Good news but no amount of PR spin will make anything happen until rail is brought back under common ownership.It's time too for a stronger voice for railway workers who are after all the people who actually know how to run a railway and keep it safe for the travelling public.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • Yarmouth to lowestoft why is it ridiculous the reedham part is already there just over grown. 200ft of track ish and points then alternate the trains times so they dont meet.

    Report this comment

    blackcbr

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • Direct trains between Yarmouth & Lowestoft sounds a great idea but feebly out of the question. The last time trains ran between the two towns was 10th May 1970 before Beeching swung his cutting axe. The spur at Reedham was last used in 1917 and to put this back into operation would be a huge cost, new points, re-signalling, re-siting the station, etc.Besides all this there is a perfectly good bus service using the First X1, 1, 1A and Anglian 61 bus services. The whole idea is impractical.

    Report this comment

    Davman66

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • @Spooky - there is already a proposal to do exactly what you are saying that has been put forward by Steve Barclay MP - see: stevebarclay.netcould-wisbech-station-open-up-a-direct-kings-Lynn-to-peterborough-rail-link I understand this scheme could now also include reopening through to Hunstanton!

    Report this comment

    Edward Millionaireband

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • this report will get the rail anoraks tugging their toggles with excitement!

    Report this comment

    itsme73

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • Yarmouth - Lowestoft via Reedham is completely ridiculous, but Norwich - Ely - Cambridge - Kings Cross is a brilliant idea. Just run the train as 8 coaches London to Ely, then send 4 to King's Lynn and 4 to Norwich.

    Report this comment

    Norfolk and Good

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • I notice that no-one seems to want to put Wisbech on a train route, this would be a good idea, the nearest station to it is March which is about 8 miles away. Could do with a railway station and would be a good mid way stop from Kings Lynn and Peterborough as well. I think it's totally daft that from Kings Lynn you have to go down to Ely, change trains and then go up to Peterborough when a direct line through Wisbech would be a hundred times better.

    Report this comment

    Spooky

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • Much of this report is a pipe dream. As a semi regular Norwich to Liverpool Street user, this is the line that needs to be sorted out first. It has already been 'slowed down' since the Anglia Railways days of the 90's where it was 1hr 40min for every other train. It could run faster, but every operator build ins failure to their timetable. If it was much slower, they might as well close the line completely. While I'd be happy to travel to Kings Cross, the money involved to get this going is huge and part of the track cannot be electrified without being realigned as properties have been built too close to it. We don't need two main lines to London, just one decent one that is too slow to be viable.

    Report this comment

    komakino

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • Yarmouth-Lowestoft bit of a joke. The Reedham triangle is long gone and in any case the bus operators won't tolerate any abstraction of their profits.

    Report this comment

    marty r

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • I wonder if Dr Richard Beeching will be making a come back, or will he turn in his grave? Perhaps, we might see Southtown, Corton, Ormesby and Hemsby have a rail station! Who knows is this history repeating itself!!!!!!

    Report this comment

    rovi

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • Iceni Warrior Says - this proposal beats the Norwich in 90 proposal fairly and squarely into the corner. It do benefit more people who wish to live in Norfolk and Suffolk all the time. The Norwich in 90 campaign only benefit few voters who want to pretend they live in Norwich but actually love London so much they can't wait to get there.

    Report this comment

    Iceni Warrior

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • I love my railways as much as anybody, but Lowestoft to Yarmouth - via Reedham? Get real! There is a perfectly good bus service, with up to five routes, provided by two different operators, between the two towns and serving various alternative neighbourhoods along the way without going halfway to Norwich and back. The other suggestion of Norwich to Kings Cross sounds very interesting - it can be done now but does entail a change of trains at Cambridge. But a direct service on an upgraded route, would surely take some of the pressure off of the GEML?

    Report this comment

    Jaydee

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • Improvements to the GY and LOW lines are long overdue. With Norwich growing ever larger it is very important that transport links between all three places are now improved. Something that has long been promised, yet like the road links, never implemented. Politics has concentrated far to long on the main line and left these underfunded routes out of the equation.

    Report this comment

    Nick

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • Moosey14, people in Yarmouth and Lowestoft probably care, not everyone travels via GEML. But I do agree with what you say about Chloe Smith

    Report this comment

    Derek McDonald

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • Anyway, this is all a load of complete **** Who cares about a direct service Low - GtYar? Why a secondary route to Kings X and messing up the Liverpool St services with more stops and slowing down? Where would the additional rolling stock come from, GA have a daily shortfall of diesel unit as it is. Lets put the money on sorting out the GEML and some new additional trains for the rural routes please.

    Report this comment

    Mooseyt4

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • I too am surprised dear Chloe hasnt taken full credit for this and pretending it was her that made it happen, she must be busy taking credit for another scheme somewhere

    Report this comment

    Mooseyt4

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • Shame the even closed the original line from Lowestoft Central to Yarmouth Southtown via Corton, Gorleston, it was a lovely run. I don't know if nit would be beneficial by putting a spur in at Reedham, pity the old line was not available, but Southtown has been built on and so has most of the old track. As far as Kings Lynn is concerned, once again we had a service direct to Norwich, but the Kings Lynn to Dereham closed, leaving the line between Dereham and Wymondham still there. Hindsight plays a big part

    Report this comment

    Derek McDonald

    Friday, January 2, 2015

  • I say, where's Chloe Smith ? She's usually first in the queue for taking the credit for other people's hard work, oh yes, and making 'empty promises'. Is she still on holiday; having lots of fun while neglecting people in Norwich North who need an MP that will help them, what what.

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Spork-Pies

    Friday, January 2, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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