No Link Norfolk

Michael Portillo delighted television audiences with an account of how trains from every corner of Switzerland connect at one of Zurich's twenty four platforms every hour.  Norwich in Ruritanian Norfolk has six platforms yet no trains connect with any other: it is not possible to travel from Cromer and Sheringham to Great Yarmouth, Wymondham or Brandon without waiting for an hour in a station with limited facilities remote from the "city" centre (ill served by third world buses and inadequate road crossing fascilities). Furthermore, the Cambridge and Great Yarmouth trains  leave just as the train from Cromer & Sheringham arrives and does not wait for connections from London if those trains are late. Even journeys to Cambridge from North Norfolk are dependent upon  a change of train at Ely.

The sole cross country service takes longer to reach Liverpool than the train (with dining car) did a century ago. There is no through service to Birmingham and poor and infrequent connections northwards at Petrograd (Peterborough). Coming from Scotland it is even worse as passengers have to wait for nearly an hour for a railcar which has been standing in Nottingham for nearly 20 minutes, and the has a turnround time of three-quarters of an hour in Norwich. Journeys to North Norfolk are absurdly slow. Crossing Essex is nearly as slow as crossing Siberia (for some reason Beeching failed to close the stations at Witham, Marks Tey, Kelvedon and Ingatestone). These are a major burden on a railway carrying heavy freight and "express" services. Either more track or less stations are needed. There used to be a through train service between Norwich and Edinburgh. Now the connections are so bad at Petrograd that  it is not realistic to travel to York from Sheringham (certainly a day return could not be contemplated). A through service to King's Cross from Norwich would expedite cross country journeys via Euston and Paddington. If the railways still had managers then an extension of the always tomorrow Thameslink services to Norwich should be possible, but most are former bus drivers with considerably less imagination and ingenuity.

Railway management is utterly passive: privatization brought neither competition, nor rapid decision-making, and far too much blame culture: faulty track, faulty fuel. The bankrupt LNER could bring in innovations rapidly as with the high speed trains, but also minor changes like improvements to King's Lynn station. The great railway would have been ashamed to publicize a few yards of extra track as at Beccles: it would have just happened.

The railway franchise system has placed the railways in the hands of dullards from the bus industry. The buses in North Norfolk are a danger to pedestrians and motorists as they are absurdly large for the narrow roads. They fail to connect with the Airport (incredably Norwich has one), the railway (alias train) station and the buses to the hospital and liberal arts college (UEA). They claim to be "fast" and "non-stop", but are neither. They fail to give an adequate service on Sundays and public holidays. When Norwich was en fete on 22 May 2015 it took an hour to get from the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital to the railway station by polluting bus.

The great city of Truro, now that its rail link has been restored (until the next storm surge), has more through services to other cathedral cities than the third division "city" of Norwich with two cathedrals and claims to be a major shopping centre. No wonder its local football team with a name associated with poison gas in coal mines does not know where to direct the ball.