Plans progress to reopen train line

Picture shows the SENRUG (South East Northumberland Rail Users Group) train approaching Ashington station on its promotional charter trip with a view to having the route opened permanently.

Picture shows the SENRUG (South East Northumberland Rail Users Group) train approaching Ashington station on its promotional charter trip with a view to having the route opened permanently.

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A delegation from Northumberland have this week met the Secretary of State for Transport to discuss plans to re-open the Ashington Blyth and Tyne Freight Line to passenger services.|

Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck and Barry Rowland, corporate director of local services at Northumberland County Council met Patrick McLoughlin MP, yesterday to tell him that re-opening the line will provide better access to employment opportunities and a real incentive for employers to re-locate to south east Northumberland.

The council announced recently that it has commissioned Network Rail to complete the necessary work to examine the best options for the scheme, which could cost up to £60m.

The existing freight line between Newcastle and Ashington, will re-open to passenger services with a likely hourly service between Ashington and Newcastle and half-hourly service at peak times.

South East Northumberland Rail User Group (SENRUG) chairman Dennis Fancett said: “We are a little surprised not to be invited to discuss the plans, but we have confidence in our MP and Barry Rowland and we look forward to hearing the outcome.”

The council has allocated £750k to fund further studies and scheme design, and a funding package is currently being put together in order to secure the future of the scheme.

The council is currently holding talks with various stakeholder organisations to share ideas.