Train operator promises half-hourly service between Ely, Littleport and London as new franchise begins


GOVIA - Credit: Archant

Rail passengers travelling from Littleport and Ely into London began a new era on Monday as the route was taken over by a new operator.

Govia Thameslink took over the franchise to run trains between King’s Lynn, Littleport, Ely and London King’s Cross from First Group on Monday.

Govia’s franchise will run for seven years and the company has promised £430 million in investment, including in introducing half-hourly trains between East Cambs and the capital.

A spokesman said: “From May 2017, the frequency of off-peak services between King’s Lynn and King’s Cross will double from one train per hour to two in each direction, except at certain times when scheduled freight trains on the King’s Lynn branch prevent this.”

The spokesman added existing trains on the line would be replaced with new air-conditioned stock from 2016.

While the Capital is little over an hours’ ride from Littleport and Ely, there is currently only one service an hour.

Govia is promising to create an extra 10,000 seats into London at peak times, to ease overcrowding.

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A £25m widening of Ely North Junction, at Queen Adelaide, will help create capacity for the extra trains. Ministers have pledged the money to ease the bottleneck where lines from Lynn, Peterborough, Cambridge and Norwich meet. Work is expected to begin later this year.