19/12/2012

Looking back... 1980's Rail/Coach Link in Hunstanton, King's Lynn & Peterborough - UPDATED!

In our third Looking back... post this week, and following on from our popular look back at Hunstanton's 1986 open top bus services, we take you on another trip back to the 1980's as we look at the Rail/Coach Link coach service that linked the British Rail network with Hunstanton, King's Lynn, Wisbech and Peterborough.

Our first and oldest photograph of the service is this black and white shot of ECOC ECW bodied Leyland Leopard WEX828X seen at King's Lynn bus station in 1983.

Rail Link coaches (c) David Bell
Eastern Counties WEX828X © David Bell

The service was operated by Eastern Counties (ECOC) and later by Birds Coaches, a small coach operator who were based in Hunstanton, their depot was located on the site that is now occupied by the towns Sainsburys supermarket.

In 1986 the service offered six daily departures in each direction on weekdays and two on Sundays between King's Lynn and Peterborough, with a daily peak time service also extending to/from Hunstanton, there were also extra services serving Hunstanton during the Summer months as seen in the colourful timetable below.

Old Rail Link timetable
click to enlarge via Flickr

On the other side of the timetable leaflet we see full fares information for the route including the many through fares available via rail to destinations including London, The Midlands and The North, a list of agents where tickets could be purchased is also included.

Old Rail Link timetable
click to enlarge via Flickr

UPDATE! Colin Apps has been in touch to help fill a missing link in this post, after Eastern Counties finished their workings on the service and before Birds Coaches used Plaxton Paramount bodied Ford R115 C324YPW on the service they used another vehicle, that was Duple Dominant IV bodied Ford R1115 GEX 214Y as pictured below at Peterborough station.

Birds Coaches GEX 214Y (c) Colin Apps
Birds GEX214Y © Colin Apps

To finish we look at a couple more photographs, this time showing two views of Birds Coaches Plaxton Paramount bodied Ford R115 C324YPW which was branded for the service.

Rail Link coaches (c) David Bell
Birds C324YPW © David Bell

Rail Link coaches (c) David Bell
Birds C324YPW © David Bell

Although the service ended many years ago the through ticketing element remains and rail passengers travelling to/from Peterborough can purchase through tickets for First's X1 between Peterborough, Wisbech, King's Lynn and Dereham. Likewise passengers travelling to/from King's Lynn by rail can also purchase through tickets to use on Norfolk Green services between King's Lynn, Hunstanton, Burnham Market and Wells-next-the-sea and also between King's Lynn and Fakenham, all of this from any UK railway station!

Hope you enjoyed our look back at the old Rail/Coach Link service, the photographs and timetable scans used in this post were kindly supplied by David Bell and Colin Apps.