Rail campaigners’ work recognised

SENRUG Chair Dennis Fancett receives the award from Railfuture North East chair Trevor Watson.
SENRUG Chair Dennis Fancett receives the award from Railfuture North East chair Trevor Watson.

A group campaigning for better rail transport in south east Northumberland has been honoured in the prestigious Railfuture awards for the best local rail campaign group.

SENRUG (South East Northumberland Rail Users Group) were highly commended for its work.

The award-winners were announced at Railfuture’s annual conference in Oxford by rail writer and the organisation’s president Christian Wolmar.

However, no member from SENRUG was able to attend, and its certificate was presented by Trevor Watson, chairman of Railfuture North East branch, at a special ceremony at Morpeth railway station to chairman Dennis Fancett.

SENRUG has been campaigning to see passenger rail services re-introduced on the old Ashington Blyth & Tyne (ABT) line with a regular service from Woodhorn and Ashington to Newcastle, providing access to jobs and helping to re-invigorate the economy.

It also campaigns on a number of other fronts and in recent years has secured an improvement to the peak hour inter-city services at Morpeth and an enhancement to facilities at the station such as the recently installed customer information screens.

Mr Fancett said: “We are delighted our campaigning efforts have been recognised and the award is a tribute to everyone on our committee who gives up hours of their time voluntarily to make our organisation the success it is.

“There is still so much to achieve. In addition to pushing harder for faster progress on the ABT re-opening, we want to see the local rail service to Cramlington and Morpeth doubled to every 30 minutes, with an evening and Sunday service added, we need a north of Morpeth local service initially to Pegswood and Widdrington, we need customer information systems at every station along the line and more inter-city off-peak services at Morpeth.”

Roger Blake, Railfuture director and RUG Awards organiser, said: “The judging panel of four Railfuture vice-presidents wished to commend SENRUG for their steadfast determination in pursuit of their vision.

“The award gives due recognition to the substantial progress made by one of the most effective of such locally-based campaigns.”