MP welcomes successful end to campaign to lengthen platforms at Littleport and Waterbeach that will bring longer trains and ease congestion

Littleport station which will benefit from a £27m investment across the region by Network Rail. At L

Littleport station which will benefit from a £27m investment across the region by Network Rail. At Littleport the platform is to be extended to enable eight seater coaches to stop there, meaning more passengers will get a seat into Cambridge. Picture: NETWORK RAIL - Credit: Archant

Longer trains will be stopping at Littleport and Waterbeach from next year after Network Rail agreed a £27 million improvement package that will lengthen platforms to enable eight car services to stop there.

NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay said: “I have been campaigning for many years to have the Littleport platform extended and to improve access for disabled passengers.

“Once the work is complete, eight car services can be introduced during peak times to provide more seats and a better experience for passengers by reducing overcrowding on existing services.”

The Department for Transport will finance the improvement to enable Network Rail to upgrade both stations.

The Littleport station work will involve extending platform 2 to 167 metres and providing step-free access to platform 1.

Work is expected to start in October 2019 and completed in the summer of 2020

Great Northern is expected to look to introduce longer eight car services in December 2020.

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There are currently eight-carriage Great Northern trains serving the Ely and Cambridge stations but officials at a rail summit in January 2017 proposed to extend the service to Watlington, Littleport and Waterbeach.

The platform extensions are required to prevent longer trains overhanging level crossings, while still allowing drivers access to the platform if an incident occurs in the station

Rail Minister Andrew Jones said: “This is an important and much needed upgrade, which will mean longer trains and a doubling of seats for passengers on the line between King’s Lynn and Cambridge.”

Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “We hope this will be welcome news to everyone who has supported this investment.”

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer said: “As a Soham resident who needs to travel frequently between Ely and London on the service at peak times I’m fully aware that the level of overcrowding can be appalling.

“It’s not right that thousands of hard working Cambridgeshire commuters have had to put up with this for so long.”

He added: “Though a little disappointed that the eight-car trains can’t be introduced sooner, I’m extremely happy that there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel. This is very good news.”

Access to platform 1 at Littleport is currently situated at the north end of the northbound platform via the car park, where commuters would need to walk across the tracks from platform 2 on a barrow crossing.

But the new access ramp and stairs would be built on the south end of the southbound platform via the underpass, which would see the removal of the barrow crossing.