Railway users group delighted at line reopening progress

A group that campaigns for better rail services in south east Northumberland has said it is delighted at the news that Northumberland

County Council has committed to the next stage in the process for introducing a new passenger train service between Newcastle and Ashington.

SENRUG has been campaigning for the re-instatement of passenger services on the line, which is a fully maintained freight route, since 2005.

SENRUG Chair Dennis Fancett said: “The tracks are there and working. It won’t take much to re-open the line. This should be the easiest rail re-opening in the country to deliver.

“Nevertheless, the Council still has to go through Network Rail’s 8 stage process. Stage 1 was completed in March 2014. The step announced today is stage 2. Only at stage 4 do Network Rail determine the full re-opening costs of the scheme, allowing the Council and other stakeholders to make the final decision.”

He added: “We need to speed up. We are of course delighted the council is now fully committed, but we need more momentum.”

In 2008, SENRUG organised a charter train round the line to Ashington to demonstrate how easy re-opening it would be, and last year the group organised a schools competition in which teams from five schools created a DVD setting out their business case for re-opening the line.

SENRUG are currently in the process of holding a series of community meetings in which they set out all their campaign objectives, including the Ashington Blyth & Tyne re-opening.

The next will be at Seghill Community Centre on Monday, October 26, at 7.30pm.