A rail user group from the county has said it is delighted that two new rail franchise awards have been announced in south east Northumberland.
The South East Northumberland Rail Users Group (SENRUG), has expressed its delight at the announcement from the Department For Transport about the two new rail franchise awards, which will see Morpeth gain a new, hourly, direct service both to Edinburgh and also to Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool from 2019.
The new services will be delivered by First Group which has won the new TransPennine Express franchise, where the services will extend to Edinburgh, with stops at Morpeth a commitment, and at other stations along the route still to be decided.
In addition to the Edinburgh – Morpeth – Newcastle – Leeds – Manchester Victoria - Liverpool service, First will also re-instate direct trains from Newcastle to Manchester Airport.
The new Northern Rail franchise goes to Arriva, which will be introducing an evening and Sunday service on the Cramlington and Morpeth line from 2017.
SENRUG chairman Dennis Fancett said: “We had very intensive discussions with First Group about the market for a semi fast service at Morpeth and are delighted our points have been taken on board.
“I received a phone call from First thanking us for our input and contribution to their plans. It makes us feel the hours of volunteer time we spend responding to consultations is worth it.”