Rail transport must be more accessible

In a recent Parliamentary debate about the Tyne and Wear Metro I took the opportunity to invite Junior Transport Minister Andrew Jones to come out and support the re-introduction of passenger trains along the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne line that were axed almost 50 years ago by Dr Beeching.

During the debate I was able to make the point that while south east Northumberland is not directly linked into the Metro, bringing back the service would hopefully make a connection possible opening up more opportunities for Wansbeck people to find work on Tyneside.

More does need to be done in this area to make rail transport more accessible and attractive.

It was no surprise that the Minister felt unable to make that pledge, but he did encouragingly agree that more could be done to invest in a rail network that, whilst carrying as many passengers as it did in the 1920s, is only a fraction the size of what it was in those days.

So although perhaps not the answer I might have hoped for, I got my point across that more does need to be done in this area to make rail transport more accessible and attractive to many more travellers.

That is a situation that has already been acknowledged by Northumberland County Council, which is fully committed to re-starting trains between Ashington and Bedlington Station and Tyneside.

The county council has my full support in its ambitions, and I will also continue to press the Government, at every opportunity, to do the same.