North Norfolk Liberal Democrats say improvements to the Bittern Line should be an essential part of the deal when the local rail franchise is renewed next year.
Norman Lamb has written to the Transport Minister pressing the case for significant rail improvements for North Norfolk. Central to this is committing to the long-term ambition to bring about a half hour service between Sheringham and Norwich.
The East Anglia Rail Franchise, which is currently operated by Abellio Greater Anglia, will be opened to tender shortly. The new operator is due to take over the franchise in October 2016.
‘It is vital that the government commits to significant investment in track improvements, and also sets the bar as high as possible for the new East Anglia Franchise,' says local MP Norman Lamb.
'The objective must be to see a half hourly service on the Bittern Line. This will require infrastructure investment north of North Walsham.'
North Walsham County Councillor Eric Seward added,
‘The Bittern Line is much loved and well used, and we have seen some real improvements for passengers in recent years with later running trains. The line is vital for commuters and integral for the tourist industry in North Norfolk. However, regular passengers will be well aware that there is a real variety in the quality of the trains on the line, with some feeling a bit past their shelf life. Whoever operates the new franchise needs to serious about upgrading the rolling stock. ’