Great Northern has introduced eight-car trains on the Fen Line, between Cambridge and King’s Lynn.
To accommodate the longer trains, Network Rail, in a programme funded by the Department for Transport, has built a new siding outside King’s Lynn station and extended platforms at Littleport and Waterbeach to allow eight-carriage services to stop there.
Previously services for all stations to King’s Lynn had only four carriages beyond Cambridge, and trains turning around at Ely had eight carriages but could not stop at Waterbeach. The hourly service at Waterbeach will now be half hourly.
Great Northern has revised its operational procedures and made carriages available to provide the longer trains. They’ll add over 2,000 extra seats to morning trains arriving in Cambridge. This will make it easier for passengers to socially distance and, when passengers return post-pandemic, help passengers find a seat on busier services.
The Fen Line has seen significant improvements over recent years to provide better services and improved connectivity for passengers, including the introduction of new air-conditioned Class 387 Great Northern trains and the opening of Cambridge North station, both in 2017.
Although passenger numbers remain historically low while social distancing remains in place, providing more space on trains at this time will help passengers feel more confident about travelling on the network and maintain social distancing until passengers return in greater numbers.
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “These improvements to the local rail network will provide better connectivity for passengers on this important commuter route.
“Longer trains will give passengers a better service, improving the network in a key part of the country as we continue to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.”