Much to do, but rail re-opening is put on track

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I am sure that the majority of readers of the News Post Leader were as delighted as I was to learn that the ambitious plans to restore passenger rail services along the line from Ashington to Newcastle have moved a step closer.

Since Dr Beeching wielded his infamous axe back in the mid-1960s the people of south east

Northumberland have been denied the use of the railways to travel almost from our own doorsteps into the city’s Central Station.

Northumberland County Council, in partnership with Network Rail, chose Bedlington Station as the location to initiate a feasibility study to see just what is needed to turn this plan into reality, along with an estimate of the cost.

The council has puts its money on the table – namely £5m – to enable this detailed development work to be carried out and I applaud that.

I was a member of Wansbeck District Council when we supported the South East Northumberland Rail Group (SENRUG) to run two trains on a trial basis one day, which proved the service could be successfully re-introduced and that there would be a demand for it from the travelling public.

There is, of course, a lot of work still to be done if the trains are to start running again.

But I certainly hope that can happen because I firmly believe that re-introducing rail services between south east Northumberland and Newcastle would bring untold benefits to our communities along the line.