Discussions are underway about building a new railway station for Norfolk

Proposals to build a new site south of King’s Lynn are at the center of a strategy unveiled by the Eastern Powerhouse (EP) at a conference in Cambridge this week.

The organisation, made up of MPs, councilors and business leaders, hopes the plan – which it says will generate significant economic growth in the region – can be funded by using Whitehall money previously earmarked for the failed northern section of the HS2 railway line. would reassign.

The new station, in South Lynn, is the most prominent part of the EP’s wider plans to improve the rail network to boost the region’s economy.

Eastern Daily Press: An aerial view of King's Lynn, which is currently only served by one train station in the city centerAn aerial view of King’s Lynn, which is currently only served by one train station in the city centre (Image: Mike Page)

The group also wants to upgrade a number of other stations and develop them into so-called ‘business hubs’.

Consultations have been held with Norfolk councils to identify potential locations for the sites, which could become local industrial centres.

The South Lynn station would be on the Lynn to London line, on land south of the A47.

It would provide regular services to both Cambridge and the capital, and the EP believes Norfolk could benefit by strengthening links with Cambridge – less than an hour away by train – which is expected to see huge economic growth in the coming years going through.

If it goes ahead, South Lynn would become Norfolk’s first new railway station since the Roughton Road station on the outskirts of Cromer, which opened in 1985.

Eastern Daily Press: James Palmer, director of Eastern PowerhouseJames Palmer, director of Eastern Powerhouse (Image: Newsquest)

James Palmer, director of the group, said: “We have been working with Network Rail following discussions with the Transport Secretary to look at ways to improve the rail network in the East and to identify potential new projects in the region.

“We have since had discussions with West Norfolk Council about the potential for a second train station for King’s Lynn.

“It follows that we have put out a call to local authorities to identify potential train station locations requiring investment, to which we have received various responses.

“The improvement of train stations is an example of our ambition to improve the transport network and we are looking for stations without trade and in need of renewal.

“Creating a business center in the area is something we are exploring.”

Eastern Daily Press: West Winch is a village south of King's Lynn earmarked for major development and growthWest Winch is a village south of King’s Lynn earmarked for major development and growth (Image: Chris Bisschop)

WHY SOUTH LYNN?

The West Winch area of ​​South Lynn is set to experience huge growth in the coming years, with the construction of more than 4,000 homes, accompanied by new healthcare, education and community facilities.

WNC says it aims to integrate a large number of new homes and associated facilities with the existing village community, creating a range of significant improvements that will deliver economic benefits to the precinct and “maximise its extensive potential”.

Creating new transport links is a key part of the project and a new access road, linking the A47 to the A149, is already progressing.

Mr Palmer added: “Eastern Powerhouse can only open doors. We will work with municipalities and support their discussions with central government to find ways to stimulate growth.”

Eastern Daily Press: Terry Parish, Leader of West Norfolk CouncilTerry Parish, leader of West Norfolk Council (Image: West Norfolk Council)

Terry Parish, leader of the Independent Coalition-led West Norfolk Council, said there was strong support for the idea.

“A new train station at West Winch would be ideal given the 4,000 homes that need to be built there,” he said.

“Officers are continuing discussions with Eastern Powerhouse. There is a lot of interest among councilors and civil servants in such a station.”

IMPLICATIONS FOR THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE HOSPITAL

Mr Parish added that if the idea gains more support it would give more weight to calls for the rebuilding of the crumbling Queen Elizabeth Hospital – currently planned for its current site to the east of the city – to be reconsidered for the West Winch/Hardwick area. South.

“The most important thing is that we get a new hospital. But a green location with room to expand and offer relevant business opportunities, with a rail link, would be ideal.”

This is not the first time a train station has been established in South Lynn.

In 2022, WNC Councilor Anthony Bubb floated the idea as a way to ease pressure on the region’s roads after the new homes are built.

Eastern Daily Press: The old trackbed of a disused railway line that branched off the King's Lynn-Cambridge line at South LynnThe old trackbed of a disused railway line that branched off from the King’s Lynn-Cambridge line at South Lynn (Image: John Hocknell)

SOUTH LYNN’S LAST STATION

The South Lynn area had a station that opened in 1886 on land now just south of the Saddlebow roundabout.

It was on the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway, the east-west line connecting Norfolk with towns and cities in the Midlands.

South Lynn was also connected to the line running south from Lynn via a busy junction.

Eastern Daily Press: The former railway sheds in South LynnThe former railway sheds in South Lynn (Image: Newsquest)

It closed to passengers in 1959 but remained a coal depot until 1966.

Some features of the line and station area can still be found.

The proposed new station would be to the east of the original station, on the Lynn main line.

The area is currently agricultural land, much of which will be developed in the coming years.

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