Rail passengers situated in the North-East will soon benefit from new travel opportunities to provide greater access to leisure and business-related journeys via the reopening of the historic Northumberland Line next Summer.
Taking a collaborative approach to the project alongside Northumberland County Council, Network Rail and Northern, the Government are looking to fully restore regular services to the vital line, thus creating faster and easier journeys between Ashington and Newcastle.
The rejuvenation of the Northumberland Line comes as part of the Government’s Restoring Your Railways scheme, a project that is reinstating local services and restoring closed rail infrastructures that were axed throughout the Beeching cuts in 1963.
Upon completion of this project, journey times will be successfully cut in half, accompanied by the delivery of a package of brand-new stations that will breathe new life into the historic railway towns along the line.
Transport Secretary, Mark Harper said:
“Communities in Northumberland can get ready for regular train services that will better connect people to jobs, education and opportunities while growing our economy.
“Restoring lost railway connections will drive tourism, boost local business opportunities and encourage investment across our regions, which is why I’m pleased to say that we are on track to reopen this historic line next summer.”
The six new stations will carry services through Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth Bebside, Newsham, Seaton Delaval, Northumberland Park and finally, Newcastle Central.
Northumberland County Council Leader Glen Sanderson said:
“We are delighted to have reached this major milestone which gives the green light for the main construction works to start. This is such a transformational scheme which will bring benefits for residents, businesses, and visitors for generations to come.
“We have been working so hard over recent years to make this scheme happen, getting all the necessary planning and stations approved and preparing the line for the major works.
“This is the moment we’ve been working towards, and I am so excited we’ve reached this point as we prepare to get trains rolling again through this part of our county.”
Restoring these passenger journeys will remove the transport related social exclusion barriers through reconnecting communities, whilst also significantly improving the economic stability of the region through providing key access to jobs and opportunities.
The construction of the line has created almost 100 high-skilled jobs and apprenticeships, demonstrating the value that rail projects can bring to isolated areas, benefitting the community before a train has even left a station.
Matt Rice, Network Rail’s North & East Route Director said:
“This is hugely welcome news as we get closer to delivering a transformed railway which will support the re-introduction of regular passenger trains and connect communities in Northumberland and Newcastle.
“We’re proud to be working with our industry partners on this truly revolutionary project, which will boost economic growth and bring a new lease of life to the region.”
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