RAIL: Is interest cooling?

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I was very pleased to watch and read the news regarding the North of Tyne combined authority and its aims to transform our area through investment plans in jobs, massive numbers of new homes of all types, place shaping, economic regeneration and transport.

The integration of all of these services to help the public have been required for decades.

However, I was thoroughly disheartened when I read about Coun Peter Jackson’s views on the reopening of the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne rail link, which he now calls the Northumberland Line.

He appears to be backing away from this long-planned scheme, seeking a feasibility study and business plan to be formulated before committing to it.

I need to ask, did he sleep through the years from 2013-2017 when the council he represents had feasibility studies, line alteration studies, signalling studies, links with the Metro system at Northumberland Park studies and integrated bus studies to capture the rural coalfield population from Amble southwards into what will be a public transport revolution?

There were even meetings to discuss signage from new stations to places of interest and need, such as Wansbeck Hospital from Woodhorn Station and Bedlington Station to the Proton Beam Therapy Centre.

This scheme would benefit the whole of the North of Tyne region, lowering the need to drive into the Tyneside conurbation for almost 60 per cent of the population of Northumberland.

The studies and plans were so far advanced that a phase two was planned to take trains on this line up to Morpeth via Bedlington Station and Choppington, linking a mainline station into the integrated transport model.

In a statement issued in November 2017 by Northumberland County Council Coun Jackson was fully committed to this reopening.

What has happened since then?

Coun Gordon Thompson

Newsham Ward

Blyth Town Council