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Waveney MP challenges rail boss

PUBLISHED: 14:55 02 October 2009 | UPDATED: 09:33 11 May 2010

WAVENEY MP Bob Blizzard this week challenged Network Rail chief executive Ian Coucher to take action about the "neglected" state of the railway stations at Lowestoft and Beccles.

WAVENEY MP Bob Blizzard this week challenged Network Rail chief executive Ian Coucher to take action about the “neglected” state of the railway stations at Lowestoft and Beccles.

The MP met Mr Coucher at Brighton during the Labour Party conference and presented him with images showing the condition of the two stations.

And it was also revealed that the old British Railways sign at Lowestoft is listed and cannot be taken down.

“Lowestoft station just looks derelict from the outside. It's right in the middle of the town and presents an appalling spectacle to visitors, which gives Lowestoft a bad name and a poor image.

“Network Rail has done nothing to the outside of the station for decades. They haven't even changed the sign. It still says 'British Railways'!

“Beccles station is completely overgrown with weeds that are never cleared and the so-called shelter has no glass in at all. Again this presents an awful first image of the town to the visitor. It's an embarrassment to the community and to the rail system, said Mr Blizzard.

“I wanted the top man to see first hand how his organisation had neglected our stations and let our area down. Several weeks ago when I complained about Oulton Broad South as well, this station was cleaned up, but the offer of a meeting about the others didn't materialise.”

Mr Blizzard said that Mr Coucher seemed “genuinely” concerned to do something and was sure there would be action taken.

“Both these stations are involved in longer-term redevelopment plans, but there is no excuse for just leaving them in such poor condition for so many years while we wait for plans to materialise,” added the MP.

A spokesman for Network Rail said that all possibilities were being explored in a bid to improve the stations at Lowestoft and Beccles.

This includes discussing improvements with the community, councils and other organisations along with Mr Blizzard.

“The British Rail sign at Lowestoft Station is listed and cannot be removed,” added the spokesman.

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