The Franchising Director has confirmed his intention to withdraw all express trains from Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield to Norwich from December 2021. A replacement local service will operated between Derby, Nottingham and Norwich. “More luggage space” is promised though no details have been released.


Issued 11 April 2019    


Our 2019 Annual General Meeting is at 1030 on Saturday 4 May in the Riversdale Centre, Tanner Street, Thetford.


Issued 13 March 2019


Following problems last autumn, we monitored the arrival in Thetford for a week of three key commuter trains home from Cambridge, four from Norwich and three expresses from Liverpool which carry a few commuters and more business travellers home to Thetford. All of the monitored services ran, with 98% reaching Thetford within ten minutes of schedule.


Issued 13 March 2019


The long and hugely disruptive eastbound 20mph speed restriction between Ely and Shippea Hill has now reduced in length and the shorter restriction in Lakenheath Fen has been removed, allowing a big improvement in the punctuality of Norwich trains. We think that higher priority should be given to effective track maintenance and timely track renewals.


Issued 27 January 2019


The government has cancelled the competition for a new Cross Country franchise including our route between Birmingham and Stansted Airport through March. The present Direct Award franchise runs till December 2019. Beyond then we want the operator to

·         keep a relentless focus on minimising cancellations

·         continue to achieve high levels of East West passenger satisfaction

·         be allowed to ensure that no passenger normally has to stand for more than 20 minutes

·         be able to run trains on Sundays in university terms.


Issued 1 October 2018


As we feared, the Franchising Director has decided to withdraw the hourly express trains from Liverpool, Manchester and probably Sheffield to Norwich from December 2021. Replacement services will link Nottingham, Peterborough, Ely, Thetford and Norwich. Most of their passengers will probably be students, migrant workers, day-trippers and people visiting friends and relatives. But they should be capable of attracting business and professional travel if they are highly reliable and if journey times stay below 160 minutes. The specification seems to rule out any nasty service gaps at the normal conference, interview and meeting times.


Issued 7 June 2018


At our 2018 Annual General Meeting on 28 April we were reminded that it is 30 years since British Rail set up the network of Midland Express services, some which became the hourly trains which now link:

·         Birmingham, Leicester, Peterborough, March, Ely, Cambridge and Stansted Airport

·         Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Peterborough, Ely, Thetford and Norwich

and which we now support.


Issued 28 April 2018


Our 2018 Annual General Meeting is at 1030 on Saturday 28 April in the Riversdale Centre, Tanner Street, Thetford.


Issued 9 April 2018


Passenger numbers continue to grow at many stations. The 2016/17 estimates include:













All numbers can be found at  Go to Statistics then Published statistics.


Issued 3 December 2017


To object to the Franchising Director’s latest plan to withdraw the express trains from Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield to Norwich, please visit search for East Midlands Rail Franchise Public Consultation and join the fight to save our service.


Issued 29 July 2017


We welcome the summer 2017 timetable, which allows passengers leaving Thetford at 1024, 1124, 1224, 1324 or 1424 on Mondays to Fridays or at 0824 and hourly through to 1823 on Saturdays to travel to London Kings Cross in 106 minutes or less with just one change at Ely. Passengers can still travel to London in 110 minutes at 0719 or 0824 Mondays to Fridays with the one change.


Through trains between Norwich and Cambridge now serve the new Cambridge North station in both directions.


Following our request, passengers from March to Liverpool or Manchester can now pay affordable Advance fares when travelling on the through trains as well as when changing in Birmingham.


Issued 22 May 2017


At our successful Annual General Meeting on 6 May 2017 members expressed some concerns about possible changes to station toilets, waiting rooms and the way we pay for our journeys. They approved our ideas for enhancing passenger facilities at Brandon station, which will feature in our next newsletter.


Issued 7 May 2017


Our 2017 Annual General Meeting is at 1030 on Saturday 6 May in the Riversdale Centre, Tanner Street, Thetford.


Issued 10 April 2017


Passenger numbers continue to grow at many stations. The 2015/16 estimates include:













All numbers can be found at  Go to Statistics then Published statistics.


Issued 12 December 2016


Passenger numbers continue to grow at many stations. The 2014/15 estimates include:

Attleborough             153,800

Brandon                    103,200

March                         378,600

Thetford                     295,000

Wymondham                        182,100


All numbers can be found at  Go to Statistics then Published statistics.


Issued 9 November 2016


Lowestoft’s long, sandy beach is fully open for the summer. Lowestoft station is amazingly close to that beach and to the stops. Lowestoft enjoys hourly connections from and to Ely, Thetford and Wymondham, almost hourly from and to Attleborough, Brandon and Cambridge.


Issued 9 May 2016


The 2016 Annual General Meeting of Peterborough-Ely-Norwich Rail Users takes place at 1030 on Saturday 7 May in the Riversdale Centre, Tanner Street, Thetford.


Issued 30 April 2016


The Direct Award East Midlands franchise, to run from October 2015 to March 2018, safeguards the important express route from Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Nottingham for another two years. It includes an intention to offer trolley catering between more stops on the route. We understand this to mean the provision of catering on many trains between Liverpool and Peterborough.


Issued 17 September 2015


At our 2015 Annual General Meeting in May, tributes were paid to the work of our inspirational Chairman of 20 years, Thelma Paines, as she stood down from the role. As our new Chairman we elected Cliff Pitchers, who previously served as the highly regarded booking clerk at Thetford.


Issued 12 May 2015


The 2015 Annual General Meeting of Peterborough-Ely-Norwich Rail Users takes place at 1030 on Saturday 9 May in the Riversdale Centre, Tanner Street, Thetford.


Issued 15 April 2015


The Northern TPE franchise consultation document includes a proposal to break up our Liverpool-Norwich express route at Nottingham and possibly Manchester. The “East Anglia” document includes a further proposal to break up the route at Ely, sending all the trains to Cambridge instead of Norwich.


Industry professionals have identified a case for providing some through services from Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Nottingham to Cambridge by joining and dividing some trains at Ely.


That could deliver big benefits for Cambridge without isolating Norfolk. It could also be developed incrementally as diesel units become available and as more revenue flows through the till.


We continue to fight these break up proposals in the interests of passengers, of tax payers and of the Norfolk economy. 


Issued 11 January 2015


The last connection to Attleborough, Brandon, Thetford and Wymondham now leaves London Kings Cross at 2144 on Mondays to Fridays and 2114 on Saturdays.


Issued 14 December 2014


Tastefully restored rooms at March station are now available for hire by community groups. We congratulate the Friends of March Railway Station on their hard work and achievement.


Issued 18 August 2014


The Department for Transport is proposing to break up the Liverpool-Norwich route at Nottingham and possibly Manchester, depriving Peterborough, Ely, Thetford and Norwich of their hourly through trains from and to Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield. Please visit KEEPING LIVERPOOL-NORWICH for our comments.


If this change would affect your journey, you can object until 18 August to quoting question STP4.


Issued 22 June 2014


Train journeys between the “North West” and the “East Midlands“ (i.e. Liverpool-Norwich) went up by 10% again last year while “West Midlands” to “East of England” (i.e. Birmingham to Stansted Airport) went up by 8%. Most other inter-regional flows went down, especially on the traditional corridor from NorthEast to SouthWest through Birmingham.


Issued 5 May 2014


Both platforms at Brandon station have short raised sections (known as Harrington humps), making it easier for people with impaired mobility to join and leave the trains. All platforms at Peterborough station have lifts, ramps and tactile paving. Now we need improved access to westbound trains at Wymondham.


Issued 1 May 2014


Our 2014 Annual General Meeting is on Saturday 10 May at 1030 in the Riversdale Centre, Thetford. Thetford’s station manager has been invited to attend.


Issued 9 March 2014

Liverpool-Norwich services are severely disrupted till 1 April due to a landslide near Dronfield. Westbound services have now been restored but only two trains are running through from Liverpool to Norwich. Local services are running between Nottingham and Norwich at the normal times. Please visit before travelling.


Issued 3 March 2014

Liverpool-Norwich services are severely disrupted till 1 April due to a landslide near Dronfield with only one through train running from Norwich to Liverpool and two from Liverpool to Norwich. Local services are running between Nottingham and Norwich at the normal times. Please visit before travelling.


Issued 20 February 2014

Our thoughts on cycles and trains can be found on our new page TRAINS AND CYCLES


Issued 14 October 2013

Please visit on Saturday if your planned Sunday journey involves using any train on the Liverpool-Norwich route, where there could be an emergency timetable.


Issued 29 August 2013

Please remember that Liverpool-Norwich expresses cannot serve Nottingham or Grantham stations till 26 August.


They will instead serve East Midlands Parkway, which has extra staff, toilets and waiting rooms, with connecting buses from and to Nottingham.


For journeys east from Nottingham, please use Special bus stop 5, next to the temporary ticket office in Station Street, opposite Capital One. Temporary toilets are at the nearby tram terminus and your fare is reduced by 15%.


There are, of course, hourly East Coast trains between Grantham and Peterborough.


Westbound expresses cannot serve Alfreton. Your ticket is valid via Chesterfield or, except on Sundays, you can take the 1657 from Norwich and change at East Midlands Parkway.


Bus and train times are at


Please tweet any questions to @shirley_updates


We should love to receive your journey experiences at


We at Peterborough-Ely-Norwich Rail Users thank all those colleagues from campaign and user groups acting as volunteer stewards to help passengers during the big blockade.


Issued 20 July 2013


Over the summer, trains from Birmingham to Stansted Airport and from Liverpool to Norwich should get new toilets. Some are already in place.


Issued 20 May 2013

There will be major disruption east of Ely from 7 to 12 May and on all routes on the 12 May.


Issued 2 May 2013

Many journeys will be severely disrupted by line closures on Saturdays and Sundays in April. Please visit


Issued 21 March 2013

Our Annual General Meeting is in Thetford on Saturday 18 May.


Issued 15 January 2013

On 29 September, 2002, the (then) Strategic Rail Authority introduced new hourly local trains between Norwich and Cambridge. We send tenth birthday greetings to all Norwich-Cambridge passengers and to all who staff and maintain the trains. Our priority is to see a comprehensive deep clean of all carpets and upholstery, then to see them kept clean.


Issued 23 September 2012

National Passenger Satisfaction Survey Results Spring 2012.


Birmingham-Stansted Airport 89%
Liverpool-Norwich 86%
National average 83%
Anglia Rurals 82%

Issued 5 July 2012

All or part of the route between Ely and Norwich will be closed on several Sundays in May, June and July; full details of buses and trains from
Issued 19 May 2012

There will be no Liverpool-Norwich trains on Tuesdays 1, 8 or 15 May or on Thursdays 3, 10 or 17 May.

Issued 28 April 2012

Our 2012 Annual General Meeting is at 1030 on Saturday 28 April in the Riversdale Centre, Tanner Street, Thetford, IP24 2BQ. Our guest speaker is Steven Ashling of Network Rail.

Issued 15 April 2012

Please contact us if you have an appropriate date for our events list.

Issued 19 January 2012

From 12 December, the 1352 from Liverpool will be extended to Norwich, providing a convenient "conference train" home from Nottingham at 1634, increasing passenger choice and relieving Friday overcrowding on the 1252 and 1452 from Liverpool.

Issued 1 November 2011

The Sunday train at 1553 from Norwich to Thetford and Manchester has been omitted from some rural timetables.

The Sunday trains at 0952 from Nottingham to Norwich and 1049 from Sheffield to Norwich will not run after 11 September.

Issued 14 June 2011


At a friendly and positive annual general meeting on 7 May, members decided that the variability of the everyday passenger experience - in terms of fares, staffing, closures and station exits - is likely to form a major part of our activity over the next few years.

Issued 8 May 2011

The 2011 annual general meeting of Peterborough-Ely-Norwich Rail Users is at 1030 on Saturday 7 May in the Riversdale Centre, Thetford.

Issued 17 April 2011

In the latest round of passenger satisfaction surveys 94% of passengers on the hourly expresses from Norwich, Thetford and Ely to Peterborough, Nottingham, Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool said they were satisfied with their train service, one of the highest figures in the industry. 

We congratulate all front-line staff, managers and planners on their achievement.

More seats and an extra train are planned for this nation-building route in 2011.

Issued 29 January 2011


We thank all the railway people working hard to keep our trains running, mostly on time, in the cold weather..

Issued 20 December 2010


The times of Sunday trains between Norwich and Cambridge will change from 12 December 2010 with extra services at 1003 and 2203 from Norwich, 0848 and 1152 from Cambridge.

Some Norwich-Cambridge trains will have more seats through the week from the same date.

Issued 18 October 2010

There is still time to see the summer floral displays along platforms at Attleborough, Brandon, Ely, Manea, March, Thetford and Wymondham stations. We thank station adopters David Turner, Fenland Street Pride, Friends of Brandon Station, NENTA Traintours and railway staff who make our journeys colourful.

Issued 18 August 2010

Liverpool-Norwich trains will be replaced by buses between Peterborough and Norwich on all Saturdays from 19 June to 14 August and on all Sundays between 18 July and 15 August.

On the same dates, Norwich-Cambridge trains will be replaced by buses between Norwich and Thetford or Attleborough.

Please check with before travel.

Issued 17 June 2010

Members of Peterborough-Ely-Norwich Rail Users enjoyed an informative and positive Annual General Meeting on 24 April, when British Transport Police talked about policing the railway and Nigel Carlisle about managing the railway.

Issued 6 May 2010

The 2010 Annual General Meeting of Peterborough-Ely-Norwich Rail Users will be at 1100 on Saturday 24 April in the Riversdale Centre, Tanner Street, Thetford, IP24 2BQ.

We shall welcome Nigel Carlisle (from the Liverpool-Norwich operator) and British Transport Police (subject to confirmation). All passengers are welcome, though only paid-up members can vote on any internal issues.

Issued 3 March 2010

Please remember major disruption caused by engineering work between Ely and Norwich 13 to 21 February and again on 27/28 February. Trains from Liverpool and Nottingham will terminate at Peterborough or Ely, trains from Cambridge at either Brandon or Thetford. Please check with for times of revised trains and replacement buses.

Issued 9 February 2010

We have commented on plans by Norfolk County Council to update its Norwich Area Transportation Strategy in the light of planned population growth. We have welcomed proposals for:

We have made suggestions for developing these ideas, reminded officers of access issues at Wymondham station and emphasised the importance to Norwich of its Liverpool trains. Subject to value, we have supported the idea of more trains between Norwich, Wymondham and Cambridge.

Issued 29 November 2009

At a most positive meeting in Ely on 5 September, Mrs Heather Bolt spoke about the objectives, benefits and achievements of  Norfolk Rail Policy Group, "oiling the wheels". It shows the commitment of local authorities to rail, tries to marry development to rail-served sites and draws down matched funding. It has overseen growth on all passenger routes in and from Norfolk, including the Bittern line to Sheringham. Stations should be easy to find, accessible and easy to park at.

Alan Neville, who now manages Ely and March stations, believes that the station is the gateway to a town or city and should be suitably welcoming. He described his relationships with staff, train operators, District Councils and Station Friends groups. Ely now has much improved platform lights and a safer subway. March has seen four clearing sessions and four big flower tubs. March user Alan Walker praised the efforts of Alan and March staff in keeping the station bright and clean.

Issued 6 September 2009

Passengers are invited to a public meeting of Peterborough-Ely-Norwich Rail Users at 1100 on Saturday 5th September 2009 in Ely Methodist Church, Chapel Street, Ely. Guest speaker will be Mrs Heather Bolt, former chairman of Norfolk Rail Policy Group, a frequent rail passenger and someone with experience of influencing rail developments.

Also in attendance will be Alan Neville, who manages Ely and March stations and has a reputation for getting things done.


Issued 2 August 2009 


 A report for the Association of Train Operating Companies advocates around 14 new or re-opened railways or stations between 2014 and 2019. Initial analysis shows a positive benefit/cost ratio for hourly trains from Birmingham or Peterborough to Wisbech.

Wisbech is at present served by half-hourly air-conditioned coaches from Peterborough station.

 The report also suggests further study of a service from Oxford/Milton Keynes to Peterborough via Corby and Stamford, as planned in the early ‘90s.

 The publication of this report does not imply that any money has been allocated to explore these schemes.


 Issued 29 June 2009


Peterborough-Ely-Norwich Rail Users much appreciates the opportunity to offer initial comments on Norfolk County Council’s outline ideas for the 20 year transport strategy for Greater Norwich.

 We warmly welcome the intention to provide excellent pedestrian facilities in Norwich City Centre. This will help to attract shoppers and tourists to the city by train.

 We share the view that cycling is likely to play a more important role in transport within Norwich and in developing sustainable tourism to Whitlingham Broad. We see a need for good cycling routes to, cycle parking at and cycle hire near Norwich railway station.

 We welcome the intention to explore the possibility of developing up to six rapid transit routes. We hope that as many as possible of these can pass Norwich railway station. There is a clear demand for high-quality and high-frequency public transport between the University and Norwich railway station; we see a similar potential between Norwich Airport and Norwich railway station.

 Development of a rapid transit corridor to Wymondham would offer an opportunity to restore frequent links between Hethersett and Wymondham railway station, with access improvements at the station.


Issued 1 June 2009 

All Liverpool-Norwich train catering will be withdrawn from 17 May. 


Issued 20 April 2009


Our AGM will be held at 1030 on Saturday 18th April 2009 at the King’s House, Thetford. All, including non-members, welcome. Membership application forms will be available for new members. 


Issued 4 March 2009  


On many Sundays in 2009 Norwich-London trains will be replaced by buses for part of the journey. Several passengers are expected to travel from Norwich to Cambridge, changing there for London Kings Cross. We have now secured a promise that, whenever possible, those Norwich-Cambridge Sunday trains will be of three cars, giving more passengers a better chance of getting a seat.


Issued 21 December 2008


Timetable changes effective from 14th December 2008 include the 0650 from Cambridge to Birmingham starting back at Stansted Airport. The 1612 Birmingham to Cambridge will be replaced by a 1652 and the 1624 Birmingham to Stansted will be accelerated.


Issued 28 November 2008


Timetable changes effective from 14th December 2008 include a new train at 0722 from Cambridge to Ely to connect into the 0652 from Norwich to Liverpool. This is in response to a request from Cambridgeshire ACRE and Peterborough-Ely-Norwich Rail Users.


Issued 9 November 2008


Timetable changes effective from 14th December 2008 include the early morning Cambridge to Norwich train retimed to arrive earlier in Norwich to improve a London connection. The late evening Norwich to Cambridge train will leave Norwich 30 minutes later at 2240 and will be more convenient for a night out in the city. National Express East Anglia will take over from East Midlands Trains the operation of these two trains.


Issued 20 October 2008


Liverpool-Norwich stakeholder manager John Hillman addressed a public meeting in Norwich recently. Mark reports:

 John started by mentioning the stakeholder board and then moved on to the kind of passenger who uses the route. The main feature is the use by students all year round although no universities feature in the stakeholder board. Off peak leisure accounts for many other passengers. There is not too much commuting (except in the Manchester area) and very little business travel. Each year 3.8m journeys are made using 2-car 158s.

 Overcrowding is a major problem with capacity at 150% on most trains at some point. The train company receives four times as many complaints about Norwich-Liverpool than any other service. The DfT has no schemes to improve capacity although the new Nottingham-Leeds service should help. There is no need to promote the service. Over the next 10 years 75,000 more homes will spring up at Thetford, Peterborough, Grantham and Nottingham.

 158s are undergoing a £10m refurbishment – 10 weeks per unit. It is hoped to increase the use of 4-car services from seven to 15 by Dec 2011 but platform lengths is a problem. Seating capacity goes up from 138 to 157 with fewer tables and thinner seats. Refurbishment due to be completed by April 2010.

 There is hope that some 150s might become available from London Midland and London Overground in 2010 at the earliest. Their use on local services would enable more 158s to be released for our route. Aspirations include the 1352 from Liverpool running to Norwich. The business case is cost neutral and the unit would return on the 0552 the next morning.

 Overall impression – quietly positive without the spin, being open about the obstacles.


Issued 4 October 2008

A letter we recently had published in the “Fenland Citizen”:

 “Dear Keith,

A rumour is circulating in March that the town is to lose the services provided by one of its franchised train operators. The truth is that, from now till 13 December, the normal daily through trains to and from Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield have to start and finish their journeys in Chesterfield and Nottingham due to restoration work in Bradway tunnel. The direct trains will be back in December, though the 1806 to Manchester will then be replaced by a later train to Nottingham.

 Also from December the last four evening trains from March to Cambridge will all be extended into Stansted Airport on Mondays to Fridays, providing extra journey opportunities.

 March is generally well served by its railway, with up to 27 daily trains into Peterborough and hourly trains to Birmingham, Cambridge, Leicester, Stamford and Stansted Airport. In response, passenger numbers have grown from 163,000 a year a decade ago to 296,000 a year now, a sustained success story.

 Yours sincerely,


Issued 19 September 2008 


Members of Peterborough-Ely-Norwich Rail Users, Travel Watch East Midlands and Travel Watch North West (together with staff from Passenger Focus) did a Liverpool-Norwich line survey in the week starting 18 August, enabling the concerns and experiences of passengers to be fed into a formal development bid for the route. 

 Peterborough-Ely-Norwich Rail Users has also written to the Office of Rail Regulation urging approval of a scheme to change the layout of tracks at Nottingham station during planned resignalling so that Liverpool-Norwich passengers gain some punctuality benefits.  


Issued 31 August 2008  


Over 50 painted elephants grace the streets of Norwich until 31 August in a spectacular display of popular art. For more details go to There are up to hourly trains to Norwich from Nottingham, Peterborough, Cambridge, Brandon, Attleborough and Wymondham, twice hourly from Ely and Thetford.


Issued 17 August 2008


Journeys between Cambridge/Liverpool/Peterborough and Norwich will be seriously disrupted up to 16 August by engineering work. Please check before you travel.


Issued 2 August 2008


New guidelines have produced a dramatic reduction in Liverpool-Norwich cancellations east of Ely and west of Warrington. Peterborough-Ely-Norwich Rail Users welcomes a significant step forward.


Issued 13 July 2008


The Liverpool-Norwich service development stakeholder board held its first meeting on 1 July, bringing together representatives from Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire passenger transport executives, Liverpool, Nottingham and Peterborough City Councils, Derbyshire, Norfolk and Nottinghamshire County Councils, East Midlands development agency and regional assembly, Network Rail, Passenger Focus, the train operator, Travel Watch East Midlands and Peterborough-Ely-Norwich Rail Users.

 There were presentations from the train operator, TWEM and from Christopher Irwin, who initiated the campaign to develop the Cardiff-Portsmouth route.

 Objectives are to:


 Issued 2 July 2008