Celebrating a thriving rail route - The Bittern Line marks a 21-year community partnership
- Credit: Archant
One of the region's most scenic train lines which once faced the threat of closure has marked the 21st anniversary of a partnership which has helped keep it alive.
The Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership (CRP) was set up in 1997 to support and promote the line which connects Norwich to iconic Norfolk beauty spots including Wroxham and the broads, Cromer and Sheringham.
Members of the partnership met with Greater Anglia representatives at Norwich Railway Station to celebrate the success of the line, which has seen passenger journeys triple from around 200,000 a year in 1997 to more than 680,000.
Cutting a cake shaped like one of the service's trains, Jonathan Denby, Greater Anglia's head of corporate affairs, said: 'The Bittern Line CRP has been a great success.
'Its proactive support has strengthened local links and has helped to significantly increase passenger journeys on the line over the last two decades.'
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The CRP works with Greater Anglia, local councils and volunteers to improve stations and support businesses and events along the route.
The Bittern line was threatened with closure under the Beeching cuts in the 1960s.
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Martin Halliday, interim development officer at Community Rail Norfolk, said: 'We would like to thank everyone who has worked together to make the line a success, including the dedicated station adopters who keep the stations looking bright and welcoming.
'The line is busy throughout the year as it serves various communities along its 30-mile route, including the popular Broads destinations of Salhouse and Wroxham and the market town of North Walsham.
This year already looks to be a bumper year for the Bittern Line with thousands of people heading to the coast and the popular resorts of Cromer and Sheringham.'
The line, which is due to get new trains next year, has recently had some problems, with North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb asking Greater Anglia to explain after three services were terminated part-way through their journeys within a week - on August 3, 7, and 9.
However Greater Anglia said annual performance on the route was one of the best in East Anglia with a rating of 92.7pc.
MORE: Train company defends record after two services cut short within a week-What are your memories of the Bittern Line from days gone by? Share you photos or thoughts in the comments.