NEWS


 

 

Some bad news / some good!

We had the disappointing news last week that we were not awarded money by DfT to assist a more detailed feasibility study on the reopening scheme.   The main reason for this seems to be that the Government were swamped with proposals for railway reopening schemes from all over the country.   No schemes were funded in East Anglia.

The rush for the funding is however testament to the widespread support rail travel has in the UK and the realisation that it can and should be a major part of low-carbon transport plans, sustainable development and improved ‘connectivity’.

And there is good news as well.   The County Council are committed to the scheme and have provisionally suggested they could cover the cost of the next stage of feasibility studies themselves.   We have also passed the 8000 mark on our petition.   Our growing group of supporters understand this is a project that can underpin the future success of our area.

Keep our rail dream on track, King’s Lynn to Hunstanton campaigners urge council leaders

By Allister Webb
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Published: 17:27, 01 November 2021

County council leaders are being urged to commit financial backing for the fight to restore the rail link between Lynn and Hunstanton.

The move has been outlined after the campaign to re-open the line, which shut more than 50 years ago, missed out on a share of a central Government funding stream to revive lost links.

But campaign leaders say they have been encouraged following discussions with ministers.

The train might not stop at Hunstanton soon, but campaigners insist the aim can still be kept on track.

And Hunstanton county councillor Andrew Jamieson says the campaign has come too far to be halted now.

He said: “A new railway offers so much promise for bolstering our local economy for decades to come, so we must not drop the ball now.

“The Hunstanton scheme has done magnificently to get this far in only a couple of years, which is a tribute to the enthusiasm and well-researched work of the local campaign group.”

The hope of bringing train services back to Hunstanton was raised last summer when the scheme was included in a list of projects to be considered for a share of Government funds intended to help reverse the Beeching cuts of the 1960s.

But the latest announcement from the Restoring Your Railway Fund, issued by the Department for Transport on Thursday, did not include the Lynn to Hunstanton line or any other scheme in this region.

Leaders of the King’s Lynn Hunstanton Railway Campaigning group say a more detailed, independent study is now needed to establish the potential travel benefits of the scheme.

It would explore how the line could potentially take passenger and freight traffic off the roads, as well as improving travel access to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in either its present or any future location.

Such an assessment is likely to cost tens of thousands of pounds to compile and had been the subject of the campaign’s bid to the Government.

The county council has already thrown its weight behind the campaign and was among the bodies to support the funding bid.

Martin Wilby, the authority’s cabinet member for transport, said today: “While we were disappointed that the Government rejected our initial bid for work on the reinstatement of the King’s Lynn-Hunstanton line, we are determined to ensure Norfolk has the transport infrastructure its needs to meet the demands of the 21st century.

“We are currently considering our next steps and will always consider well thought out plans to address the needs of communities in West Norfolk.”

Mr Jamieson said he also plans to hold talks with West Norfolk Council leader, Stuart Dark, on the subject.

Meanwhile, campaign leaders have also renewed their pleas for the public to sign their online petition calling for restoration of the line.   Nearly 8,000 people have already backed the call via the change.org campaign website.

Group spokesman Howard Johnston said: “We want to make it possible for our young people to get to places like Cambridge to work.   Hunstanton and its surrounding villages should also become famous for their wonderful attractions, not for the bumper-to-bumper traffic queues on the A149 road every summer.   The case for rebuilding railway is overwhelmingly strong, and adding your name to the on-line petition is a good way to demonstrate community solidarity.”

 

 

Young People get it

Even though we would regard our campaign group to be largely comprised of more ‘mature’ members of the community — even we understand that transport policy must fundamentally change in coming years in order to achieve a carbon neutral economy.   This article suggests that 70% of young people think that trains must be a part of that agenda.

Seven out of ten young people want the country to ‘Go Green by Train’ to tackle the climate emergency — Politicians should bear this in mind

By Danny Longhorn — RailBusinessDaily — 18thOctober, 2021

The inaugural Community Rail Week, 18th-24th October, is involving hundreds of community rail partnerships and volunteer groups running the ‘Go Green by Train’ campaign with activities to promote their local railways, and giving communities and young people a voice on green transport.

Organised by Community Rail Network and sponsored by Rail Delivery Group, the campaign week is focusing on young people’s views, voices and futures, as a new survey is released exploring travel habits and attitudes to green travel among 1,000 16–24-year-olds:

  • Seven in ten (70%) young people are keen to see more people using trains in the future, with the vast majority (90%) saying the environment and climate emergency is an important issue to them;
  • Around half (48%) travel by train at least once a month, but one in six (17%) have rarely or never been on a train, or can’t remember when they last did;
  • While 94% have a station near enough for them to use, most (67%) admit there are factors getting in the way of them using trains, including practicalities with walking, cycling, or getting a bus to the station, being worried about cost, or driving or getting lifts being more convenient.

With greener transport recognised as a fundamental part of the solution to the climate emergency, Community Rail Week and the ‘Go Green by Train’ campaign looks to drive change at community level through the efforts of 74 community rail partnerships and 1,000 station friends groups across Britain — working to help people get out of their cars and onto trains and other sustainable modes.   Activities and events during the week include sustainable travel workshops, creative competitions and exhibitions, ‘Go Green by Train’ pledge campaigns, engagement with schools and youth groups, ‘try the train’ trips, and question time style sessions with young people discussing the environment and transport.

Transport has a huge role to play if the UK is to reach its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 100% of 1990 levels, or ‘net zero’, by 2050. Figures show that:

  • Transport is now the largest emitting sector in the UK, making up 27% of domestic emissions in 2019;
  • Rail accounted for just 1% of domestic transport emissions in 2019, despite representing 10% of the total distance travelled, and is the greenest form of transport after walking and cycling;
  • One train can remove up to 500 cars off our roads;
  • For a 30-mile journey, travelling by train instead of by car can reduce emissions by up to 86%.

Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network, said: “As we approach the international climate talks in Glasgow, Britain’s community rail movement is coming together to highlight the great importance of green travel at a local and global level.   Transport is now the biggest contributor of UK greenhouse emissions, so we face a pressing challenge to decarbonise the way we get around, for the sake of future generations — plus our communities can benefit now from reduced traffic and pollution.   Rail, combined with buses, walking, cycling, and shared mobility, provides a huge part of the solution: shifting as many journeys as we can onto these modes, breaking down green travel barriers, and reducing car use can help us forge a more sustainable, healthy, inclusive future.

“We’re excited to launch our first Community Rail Week with events and activities in communities across Britain, raising awareness and exploring how we can enable and empower more people to feel confident and able to go green by train.”

Andy Bagnall, director general at the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Trains are inherently green so when people go by rail it’s more than a journey — it’s literally helping to save the planet!

“In future, we want trains to be the backbone of a decarbonised transport network so, as well as supporting initiatives like Community Rail Week, we want to work with government to reform ticketing and fares — if it’s easier for people to find and buy a good value ticket, more people will use rail as a green alternative to other ways of travelling.”

Photo credit: Community Rail Transport
 

 
 

On Track for a Comeback

KLHRC are awaiting announcement from the Department of Transport to see if they have been successful with their bid for further feasibility study funding.   We are under no illusions though, as communities across the country have mobilised to put in similar strong bids.   Across the country people understand that a shift back towards rail transport is needed and long overdue.   Many disused lines have been better protected than the King’s Lynn to Hunstanton route — but even if our line needs substantial new sections, the terrain could make it relatively easy to build.
www.bigissuenorth.com/features/2021/09/on-track-for-a-comeback
 

 
 

James Wild MP encourages people to sign petition for Lynn to Hunstanton rail restoration

James Wild MP is encouraging constituents to sign petition to back bid to restore King’s Lynn to Hunstanton railway as part of government £500 million Restoring Railways Fund.
Next month is the deadline for Norfolk County Council and James to make a fresh submission to the final round of the £500m Restoring Railways Fund.   James is supporting calls from Cllr. Andrew Jamieson for emails and letters of support for the project ahead of the deadline for submissions on March 5th.

View the full article
 

 
 

Press Release
How you can help get our railway back

Local businesses and residents can play a big role in deciding whether Hunstanton and several major communities along the North West Norfolk coast get a railway link to King’s Lynn, Cambridge and London.
They are being urged to write letters and send e-mails of support to help secure a £50,000 government grant to push the project forward. The strict deadline is March 1st.

View the full Press Release (pdf file)
 

 
 

Torquay use Government railway station fund to benefit urban expansion plans

Torbay Council have shown how rail infrastructure funding can help to make new residential areas more sustainable and diminish the need for car dependency.
Showing considerable forward thinking, the Council has also included the provision of this key transport infrastructure as part of their recent Town Deal funding bid.
Surely this example is very relevant for urban expansion plans in West Norfolk?

Almost £8 million awarded for new Torquay station
 

 
 

Restoring your Railways Idea Funding Application — Update 27-11-2020

The campaign to re-open the King’s Lynn-Hunstanton railway has been given a major boost this week with an invitation from the government to submit further details to strengthen the case for funding.

The door is open for more talks, Government tells Hunstanton rail revival campaigners
 

 
 

Local businesses support rail infrastructure investment

A leading business group has given its backing to the new drive for a long-sought upgrade of the main rail link serving West Norfolk.

Business group backs long-sought upgrade of West Norfolk rail link
Lynn News 30th October 2020
 

 
 

Fear about catching Covid 19 on public transport appears to be misplaced …

The risk of coronavirus spreading on public transport has remained substantially low through the pandemic, several international studies have shown.

Coronavirus: Why public transport could be safer than we thought
Sky News 7th October 2020
 

 
 

Hydrogen-powered train makes UK maiden journey.

A hydrogen-powered train has travelled on Britain’s rail network for the first time. The prototype, called the Hydroflex, made a 25-mile round trip in Warwickshire, reaching speeds of up to 50 mph. Its next phase is to move the hydrogen tanks, fuel cell and battery out of a carriage and stash them underneath the train. The aim is for the train to start carrying paying passengers by the end of 2021.

Hydrogen-powered train makes UK maiden journey
BBC 30th September 2020
 

 
 

On 6th September 2015 the first passengers travelled on the Borders Railway.

The £294 million pound line, connecting Tweedbank to Edinburgh, was the longest domestic line to be built in the UK in a century.

Five years on the Borders Railway proves the benefit of reopened railways…
ITV 6th September 2020
 

 
 

GERMANY:

More than 200 closed, mothballed or freight-only lines could be reopened to serve 291 towns and a population of around 3 million people, according to proposals drawn up by the Association of German Transport Companies VDV and rail lobby group Allianz pro Schiene.

Its not just here – German Govt announces plans to reopen 4000km of railway
Railway Gazette International 9th July 2020
 

 
 

Final approval of the business case for re-opening the March to Wisbech rail link was given the green light today (Wednesday) by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CAPCA).

First trains along restored Wisbech to March line could be running by 2028 after business case gets the green light
Wisbech Standard 8th July 2020


 
 

The King’s Lynn to Hunstanton railway reopening

A proposal has been shortlisted as one of 50 projects across Britain that may be awarded funds by the Department of Transport for a detailed feasibility study.   A bid submitted by Norfolk County Council in June is one of only two projects in East Anglia that have made the list.   The other project is a proposal by the Mid Norfolk heritage railway group to run a service between Dereham and Wymondham.

The King’s Lynn Hunstanton bid proposes to reopen the former line as part of the national rail network — allowing communities in north-west Norfolk to once again have quick, reliable public transport to Cambridge, London and beyond.   It would also provide an alternative to road-based travel for the thousands of day trippers and holidaymakers that visit Norfolk every year.   There would also be opportunities for the line to be used for freight — considered to be a key goal for reducing road traffic and pollution in coming decades.

‘Biggest game changer in a generation’ – campaigners hail £100m rail plan
EDP 3rd July 2020

Government to examine King’s Lynn to Hunstanton railway bid
Lynn News 3rd July 2020

The ’20 minute’ coastal train line near Cambs that could re-open soon
Cambridgeshire Live 2nd July 2020
 

 
 

Network expansion, new inter-regional services and new stations

  • Delivery of East West Rail, linking Norwich, Thetford & Cambridge to Oxford to improve connections between E. Anglia & central, southern and western England.
  • Continued liason with promoters of private railways to provide support & action where appropriate, although in the short-term at least resources cannot be provided.
  • King’s Lynn to Hunstanton
  • Long-term, consider feasibility of mainstream passenger services to Dereham utilising exisiting private rail line.
  • New station near Broadland Business Park at Norwich.

King’s Lynn to Hunstanton — reinstating

Previously it has not been seen as feasible to consider reopening due to, amongst other things, the cost of reinstating the line & that it is compromised by development. However, no technical work had been undertaken to examine this in detail & therefore there was an unproven business case. The county council has recently agreed to look at whether there is likely to be a business case for reopening, albeit probably not on the exact original alignment due to, amongst other things, development compromising reopening. This work should report in early summer 2020.

Norfolk County Council committed to a feasibility assessment of the Hunstanton railway link as part of their ‘Norfolk Rail Prospectus’ which closed at the end of February 2020

 

 
 

The IRJ editorial team has put on its thinking cap to produce a 12-point plan to help rail become carbon free and take on a greater share of the transport burden. David Briginshaw outlines how rail can up its game in the battle against climate change.

How railways can contribute to a zero carbon economy
International Railway Journal 23rd December 2019
 

 
 

The reshaping of the railways left deep scars, with towns and villages isolated, and London all-important

Without the Beeching report there might not have been Brexit
The Guardian 6th October 2019
 

 
 

Officials at County Hall are set to commission a study looking at the potential viability of re-opening the line, 50 years after it closed.

Hunstanton rail campaigners welcome county study plan, but warn action needed soon on ‘connection crisis’
Lynn News 16th September 2019
 

 
 

The prospect of restoring Hunstanton’s rail link has been handed a boost, with NCC set to explore whether it would be viable to re-open it.

Boost for bid to revive railway link after over half a century
EDP 13th September 2019
 

 
 

At a time when the Government is spending billions of pounds on preparations for a ‘no deal’ Brexit, which may never happen, it was refreshing to learn that it is to launch a review of High Speed 2, which also may never happen.

Surely some of that HS2 money could be better spent right here?
Lynn News 27th August 2019
 

 
 

The railway was closed in 1969 — not as a result of the Beeching Report but mainly because of a litany of British Rail cutbacks that took no account of the needs of isolated coastal resorts

King’s Lynn to Hunstanton Reopening Campaign
RailFuture 7th June 2019
 

 
 

After a long hard campaign by Railfuture and affiliated groups, the government has stumped up the extra £32m needed to reopen the railway line to Portishead.

Portishead Line to Reopen
RailFuture 17th April 2019
 

 
 

The UK Government has announced its backing for a feasibility study into an extension of the Borders Railway.

UK Government announces support for feasibility study into Borders Railway extension
Railway Technology Magazine 1st April 2019
 

 
 

A £317m project designed to tackle bottlenecks has actually made traffic jams worse on dozens of major roads, a government-owned company has admitted.

£300m traffic jam-busting scheme made journeys longer, Highways England admits
Independent 7th April 2019
 

 
 

Hunstanton’s rail link must be restored to ensure the town’s future prosperity, a meeting heard.

Reopening rail line ‘vital’ for Hunstanton
EDP 13th March 2019
 

 
 

There is an ongoing consultation on Norfolk Greenways which involves the future of disused railway tracks across Norfolk.

Coastal footpath needs to be considered with Greenways
Lynn News 5th February 2019
 

 
 

Hunstanton provides work in retail and tourism but the tendency for younger people to move away, or commute, tends to be the normal practice.

Time to reconnect Hunstanton to the national rail network
Lynn News 2nd October 2018
 

 
 

Hunstanton and District Civic Society organised two Heritage Open Days this month.

Civic Society Heritage Open Days a reminder of what has been lost
Lynn News 18th September 2018
 

 
 

It should be apparent to most local people that Henry le Strange’s greatest gift to Hunstanton was the railway line from King’s Lynn to Hunstanton, which opened in October 1862, and closed in May 1969.

Restoration of the railway line to Hunstanton is 21st-century must
Lynn News 11th September 2018
 

 
 

If we can build HS2 at a cost of £70 billion, and rising, and we can’t do something with the K.L to Hunstanton line then there is something very wrong.

An interview with Sir Henry Bellingham MP
Hunstanton Town & Around July 2018
 

 
 

The King’s Lynn Hunstanton Railway received a welcome boost when North-West MP Henry Bellingham showed his full support for the initiative.

Initiative on the right track with MP’s support
Lynn News 6th March 2018