Talks begin on possibility of moving station

Date: 29 July 2016 at 09:38  'Fyling Scotsman at Cramlington   'Adrian McRobb'   Cramlington
Date: 29 July 2016 at 09:38 'Fyling Scotsman at Cramlington 'Adrian McRobb' Cramlington

A new railway station could be built in Cramlington to help boost the economy and passenger numbers.

A year after campaigners called for a new station in the town, Northumberland County Council is to look at the possibility of moving the current station.

A full business case would need to be drawn up before any move could be finalised.

Officials at the council are meeting with a range of stakeholders at Cramlington Station to see for themselves how moving it to a more central location in the town could help unlock further investment in the area.

The existing station is currently in the lowest categorisation on the National Network.

Although on the East Coast Main Line it is only used by Northern rail services and offers a limited number of journeys. Only one per cent of Cramlington commuters travel by train – lower than the county average and the average for England of 7.4 per cent.

And in 2014/15 there were just 89,070 users.

The new station would be approximately 300m south of the existing one, next to the western entrance to the Westmorland Retail Park and Manor Walks shopping centre.

Coun Allan Hepple, cabinet member for economic growth, said: “The bottom line is that the station in its current location is not fit for purpose.

“A new station would greatly improve accessibility to key local and regional centres, enable more services at the station and facilitate accelerated economic growth within the south east of the county.

“Firstly we need to carry out a high-level study into this project and liaise with key stakeholders to see how we can take this exciting vision forward.

“A new station could really open up the network for more train operators to stop at the town.

“A number of national rail companies are also planning to increase the number of services running between Newcastle and Edinburgh and providing a new station with modern facilities at Cramlington may help persuade train companies to stop some of these services here.”

Last September, SENRUG – which campaigns for better rail services in the south east of the county – called for the move.

Chairman Dennis Fancett said at the time: “For too long we have been lacking any kind of vision for developing and enhancing rail services in this area.

“We are watching new projects come on stream in other parts of the country but nothing happens here.

“It is time for local authorities to provide strong leadership and vision, and to think ‘rail’. “The new station location would complement SENRUG’s campaign to increase train service frequency at Cramlington to two trains each way per hour with the possibility of some services providing a direct connection to cities such as York, Leeds and Manchester.”