02/10/2013

Half hourly trains from King's Lynn another step closer following franchise announcement

King's Lynn is set for half-hourly rail services to Cambridge after the inclusion of the more frequent services in the rail franchise specification for the King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross services.

The Government has published an invitation to tender for the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) rail franchise competition which includes a minimum requirement of a half hourly service between King's Lynn and Cambridge throughout the day from 2017.

"This announcement is welcome news and is long overdue in my view. It will bring tangible economic benefits, as well as more convenience for rail passengers," said George Nobbs, Leader of Norfolk County Council and Cabinet Member for Economic Development. "The County Council has been pressing for this to be included in the franchise specifications, and this guarantees that the more frequent service will be in place from 2017.

Our work has shown that rail improvements into Cambridge from the north - especially King's Lynn - would boost the economy of the area and bring up to 1,200 extra jobs. "We have also been pressing for new or at least higher standard trains serving King's Lynn. The Government has specified 'comparable or better' rolling stock, but when the franchise bids come in, we want to see bidders doing better than this minimum standard."

As well as welcoming the half-hourly services between King's Lynn to Cambridge, Norfolk County Council is pleased that a later departure - no earlier than 11pm - from London King's Cross on weekdays has been included in the specification (current last service 10.15pm). The Council believes that people heading for King's Lynn should be able to leave after midnight, but this still represents a useful improvement. The County Council is disappointed that the Government is not specifying earlier Sunday arrivals in London, requiring only that the earliest Sunday train gets into King's Cross no later than 10.15am.

Press release from Norfolk County Council.