Could this Norfolk town get a new train station?
- Credit: Greater Anglia
Norfolk could get its first new railway station in decades, as part of a huge expansion of the county's fourth largest town.
Land has been set aside in Thetford for an extra stop on the line between Norwich and Cambridge, under plans for a major housing development on its outskirts.
The station could form part of the vast new Kingsfleet neighbourhood, where 5,000 homes are being built in the north east of the town.
The railway line runs directly through the middle of the development and as part of the project an area of land has been earmarked for a new station.
The overall housing scheme was given permission in principle by Breckland Council in 2015, but the finer details are now in the process of being approved by the authority, with the land divided up into smaller parcels known as ‘sub-phases’.
In a recent council report about one sub-phase, officials noted that a piece of land had been “retained for a rail halt”.
The idea of a station was first mooted in 2013, when the plans were still being developed, by consultants acting on behalf of the landowners.
Almost a decade later, with the concept an official part of the development, expectations will be raised that the proposed station - which would be the second in Thetford - could become a reality.
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The entire first phase is due to be completed by 2029.
A Greater Anglia spokeswoman said new station developments were generally taken forwards by local authorities, and occasionally the Department of Transport, but not train companies.
She added: “If we are contacted by the local authority or developer about this scheme, we will work constructively with them and Network Rail to look at the practicalities and then, if the scheme is funded and approved, assist positively in bringing it to fruition.”
A Norfolk County Council spokesman said that while the authority is “supportive of rail travel in general”, they would need “to see the proposal in full”.
If a proposal was submitted, NCC would “consider it in detail”.
Breckland Council, Network Rail, and the Department for Transport have all been approached for comment.
A new railway station would be Norfolk’s first since Roughton Road station, on the outskirts of Cromer, was opened in 1985.
A new station has also been mooted in recent years at the Broadland Business Park, east of Norwich.