Rail re­vival will res­cue ail­ing Nor­folk re­gion, say cam­paign­ers

Rail (UK) - - News -

Early re­in­state­ment of the rail­way from King’s Lynn to Hun­stan­ton is es­sen­tial for the eco­nomic sur­vival of com­mu­ni­ties along the North West Nor­folk coast, it was claimed at the high-pro­file pub­lic launch of a re­vival scheme in De­cem­ber.

There are pro­pos­als for a brand new Hun­stan­ton Park­way sta­tion at a new site on the east­ern edge of the re­sort, to at­tract pas­sen­ger traf­fic from a wide catch­ment area.

It might also be pos­si­ble to serve King’s Lynn’s Queen El­iz­a­beth Hos­pi­tal (the lo­cal­ity’s big­gest em­ployer with 2,400 staff), while the re­vival of min­eral traf­fic is also a pos­si­bil­ity. It is sug­gested that the project might cost £150 mil­lion.

Since the mo­men­tum was cre­ated by Ely-based pro-rail cam­paigner Ge­orgina Turner in the sum­mer, there has been en­thu­si­as­tic po­lit­i­cal sup­port in­clud­ing from lo­cal MP Sir Henry Belling­ham.

This has spurred the King’s Lynn-Hun­stan­ton Rail­way Project to start pre­par­ing a busi­ness case to per­suade Nor­folk County Coun­cil and the lo­cal bor­ough coun­cil to adopt the scheme, as well as se­cure in­ter­est from the Lo­cal En­ter­prise Part­ner­ship, Gov­ern­ment and Net­work Rail.

The orig­i­nal 15¼-mile for­mer Great East­ern line along the east­ern side of the Wash was never listed by Beech­ing for clo­sure, but was nev­er­the­less aban­doned in Septem­ber 1969. It had suf­fered badly from the with­drawal of through trains from Lon­don Liver­pool Street, and the re­moval of run-round fa­cil­i­ties at Hun­stan­ton pre­vented the ar­rival of ex­cur­sions.

North West Nor­folk is now listed by the Gov­ern­ment as one of the UK’s worst em­ploy­ment blackspots for young peo­ple.

And the A149 road, the only cor­ri­dor to the com­muter vil­lages of Ders­ing­ham, Snet­tisham and Heacham, reg­u­larly seizes up at week­ends and at the height of the sum­mer sea­son.

It is en­vis­aged that the ‘new’ rail­way to Hun­stan­ton would be on a fresh align­ment in sev­eral places, pos­si­bly leav­ing King’s Lynn from the moth­balled docks branch.

Al­ter­na­tively, ex­it­ing over part of the cur­rent short Mid­dle­ton Tow­ers freight line would en­able it to go past the Queen El­iz­a­beth Hos­pi­tal.

While most of the orig­i­nal sta­tions sur­vive in pri­vate own­er­ship, there has been ma­jor hous­ing en­croach­ment at Heacham, so a by­pass here in in­evitable.

The orig­i­nal line is his­tor­i­cally linked with the Royal Fam­ily, who once used the or­nate sta­tion at Wolfer­ton (now partly a mu­seum) to reach San­dring­ham House.

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