Northumberland Line rail scheme continues to undergo work, as the County Council transition towards a brighter future for railway passengers following coronavirus.
The Council is working alongside the Department for Transport, Network Rail and Northern Trains Ltd on their pioneering plan to reintroduce regular passenger trains between Ashington and Newcastle by 2024.
Earlier in the year, the Department for Transport funded £34m to reintroduce a regular service for passengers travelling between Ashington and central Newcastle, with a number of stops in between, allowing Network Rail to commence work early. The line was closed to passengers in 1964, and has been used wholly by freight trains for many years. Now, the 600 yards of rails and their mechanisms, have finally had their first bit of work done.
The application for Chase Meadows footbridge in Ashington, was the first of the Northumberland Line applications to be granted planning permission, and applications needed to deliver the re-opening of passenger rail services on the Northumberland Line are still underway.
The Country Council has also put forward planning applications, with decisions expected in the coming months, for new stations at Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth Bebside, Northumberland Park and Seaton Delaval. In May, they also submitted a Transport and Work Act Order (TWAO) application – a scheme used to authorise a new railway or tramway - for the Secretary of State.
The regeneration programme aims to boost community growth. Council Leader, Glen Sanderson, said “Once completed, the new railway will connect communities and businesses along the route and beyond, creating new opportunities for jobs, housing, education and economic growth.”
He added, “There are many elements to be agreed, designed and built along way and throughout the project we’ve been working with residents and other stakeholders to keep them updated and involved wherever we can.”
Stations are due to start construction in summer 2022, dependent on the necessary approvals being secured.
Senior Programme Manager for Network Rail’s North and East route, David Underwood, said “once completed, the new line will provide the people of Northumberland with access to new opportunities and connect the communities along the line.”