Report highlights inadequate transport connections in north Norfolk

An Abellio Greater Anglia Train travelling the Bittern Line into Sheringham.Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

An Abellio Greater Anglia Train travelling the Bittern Line into Sheringham.Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

A transport project is due to get back on track after Norman Lamb has backed the idea.

A report pulled together by Sheringham residents has highlighted the poor train and bus service connections between Sheringham and Holt.

Sheringham resident David Hurdle and Holt resident James Thomson prepared a report last year highlighting the need to improve train connections at Sheringham with buses to/from Holt and beyond; passengers are dependent on Sanders buses to reach the National Rail network at Sheringham. The main observations recorded in the report were as follows:

'We have taken a reasonable interchange time at Sheringham of 6 to 15 minutes and found that this rarely occurs.

'Towards Holt just three trains out of 17 have such an interchange time onto a bus on Mondays to Fridays, five out of 17 on Saturdays and five out of 13 on Sundays.

'From Holt the results are five out of 17 on Mondays to Saturdays and just one out of 13 on Sundays.

'Furthermore, towards Holt, a bus has departed on average nine minutes before a train's arrival. And finally, for people living west of Holt there are very few buses that connect with trains at Sheringham. The same is true in the other direction with 14 buses arriving between five minutes before the train departure and within 10 minutes after.'

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Norman Lamb, MP for north Norfolk, said: 'It is simple common sense to link bus and train timetables so that people aren't forced to wait for excessive amounts of time between connections. That this isn't standard policy between Holt and Sheringham is a massive oversight. David and James have done a fantastic job producing this report and I hope NCC and the Bittern Line Partnership will work with us to fix this glaring problem.'

The report was well received and supported, especially by Holt Town Council, the Bittern Rail Community Rail Partnership and Norman Lamb.

A meeting was held with the two operators, Sanders and Abellio Greater Anglia, but progress since then has been limited.

However, Abellio has recently appointed an Integrated Transport Manager; and the Chairman of the Bittern Line Partnership is very keen to see a 'Task and Finish' working group set up to take this type of initiative forward'.

To get things moving again Norman Lamb MP has now written to the bus and train operators, the Bittern Line Partnership, also Norfolk County Council so that a meeting can take place.

Mr Lamb will chair the meeting and aim to get real progress on improved connections between buses and trains, also through ticketing, and a bus information display at Sheringham station.