Friday 31 May 2019

Sheringham Station & Bittern Line upgrade

Greater Anglia is in the process of improving services for passengers travelling on the Bittern Line between Norwich and Sheringham, by installing a brand-new platform at the latter station, ready for new trains. The new facility has doubled the length of the existing platform – at 80m, as against as opposed to the previous 40m.

It is also be wider, with improved lighting and a new customer shelter. The investment of over £1 million, will make the station fit for the new trains which are due to come into service later this year.

The new bi-mode trains will all be 3 or 4 carriages long (replacing the current 1 and 2 carriage trains), meaning that Greater Anglia will be able to provide more capacity, including for special events and the busiest days during the holiday season.

The new platform will also make the station a much better, more welcoming gateway to the town, which will be easier for customers to use, replacing the existing rather short and narrow facility which can lead to delays at busier times.

In particular, passengers with luggage, buggies and those using wheelchairs will all benefit from the enhanced facilities, which are planned to be installed by early May.

The major upgrade also positions the line well to see increased patronage in the years ahead. Since the mid-1990s annual passenger journeys on the Norwich to Sheringham line have grown from 200,000 a year to over 680,000 in 2017/18 – an increase of 290% - after a series of service improvements, including more frequent train services and station enhancements, combined with proactive promotion from successive train operators and the Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership.

Now, with brand-new, longer trains, the new platform at Sheringham, and other improvements such as ticket vending machines installed at all stations except Salhouse, the Bittern Line is well placed to continue to thrive in the years ahead, with an excellent train service connecting the North Norfolk Coast with Norwich and the rest of the rail network.

To complete the installation of the new platform, the station was shut for several weeks from Sunday 31 March. Durng that time, trains on the Norwich to Sheringham line terminated at Cromer. Passengers to and from West Runton and Sheringham continued their journey by rail replacement bus provided by such local companies as Marett's Chariots and Sanders Coaches.

The new bi-mode trains, made by Swiss manufacturer Stadler, are all longer, with more seats, USB and electric plug points, air conditioning, fast free wi-fi and accessible toilets and will all be to use the new platform at Sheringham.