This coming Bank Holiday will see the Northumberland line receive key infrastructural upgrade works as Network Rail look to renovate a key section of the route, which will allow the return of passenger trains.
The works will remove and replace an existing rail bridge near Sharnford Close, Backworth with a modernised structure that will aid in the boost to reliability concerning freight train passage. This will, in turn, afford the line passenger runs in the future. Concurrent works between Thursday 25th and Tuesday 30th August will see engineers lay nearly 200 metres of new track, whilst bolstering the supporting landscape.
This comes as part of the multi-million-pound Restoring Your Railways scheme, seeking to reintroduce regular rail passenger services between Ashington and Newcastle by 2024. This would represent a massive 60 years after the line was closed to passengers during the Beeching cuts.
Luke Durston, Senior Sponsor for Network Rail said:
“We’re making some fantastic progress on this unique, economically important scheme to offer a new, reliable rail service for communities in the north east.
“Over the bank holiday we’ll be upgrading a vital section of this route, which will take us one step closer to restoring passenger services to South-East Northumberland for the first time in a generation.”
Upon the project’s completion, communities such as Ashington, Blyth and Newsham will experience enhanced connections to Newcastle, whilst opening opportunities for economic growth, tourism, and support the ambitions of offshore gas and oil sectors.
This project went live in 2021 and has seen consistent progress through the efforts of Network Rail, with renewals of more than eight miles of track and recently upgraded Feather Bed Lane bridge to ready the route for faster, more frequent services.
Glen Sanderson, Leader of Northumberland County council, said:
“It’s great to see progress the scheme is making and work like this clearly demonstrates the engineering challenges we are working through.
“With benefits not only for Northumberland but the wider region, every new structure or track improvement brings this fantastic scheme closer to completion.”
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