Rail firm unveils £31 million upgrade to West Norfolk trains

Rail firm unveils £31 million upgrade to West Norfolk trains : Rail company bosses have unveiled multi-million pound plans to upgrade the trains which carry West Norfolk’s passengers to Cambridge and London.

More than £30 million is to be spent on maintaining and improving facilities on the First Capital Connect fleet of trains on the routes linking Lynn and Peterborough to the capital between now and 2017.

The work, which will include the installation of new automated information systems, together with improved facilities for disabled passengers and refurbished interiors, has been welcomed by rail campaigners.

Colin Sampson, chairman of the Fen Line Users Association, which lobbies for improvements to services on the line to and from Lynn, said yesterday: “We’re all for anything that brightens up the travelling experience.”

A total of £31 million is to be spent on the project, which will coincide with a previously scheduled programme of repairs to the fleet.

The company hopes the first upgraded train will come into service later this year.

The refurbished trains will also include two spaces for wheelchairs instead of the current one plus companion seating, a new, wheelchair-accessible toilet in each four-coach unit and an automated information system which will include both audio and visual announcements.

The company says that part of the work, which is expected to begin early in the new year, is needed to bring the services in line with current disability access regulations.

And managing director David Statham said: “Everything our passengers tell us shows that a clean and comfortable travelling environment is important to them.

“This investment in one of our biggest fleets of trains will give us just that – a brighter, new-look train cabin with better information and better facilities for people with disabilities.”

And Mr Sampson said it was important that investment in the area’s transport network is continuing, particularly after long-sought improvements to the A47 were not included in the government’s spending review programme last month.

“We should be very thankful that we’re still getting the benefit of it,” he said.

The project is the second major investment to be unveiled on the rail network in West Norfolk so far this year.

It was confirmed in January that £25 million will be spend to dual the track at the Ely north junction, though it could still be many years before the scheme is completed.

Supporters have long argued that the project is vital to enable more frequent trains to run to and from West Norfolk to help meet demand.

West Norfolk trains

Source : lynnnews

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