Works have now started to build the new stations at Bedlington, Blyth Bebside, and Seaton Delaval. The new rail line, including six new stations between Newcastle and Ashington is due to open next year. The North of Tyne Combined Authority, led by Mayor Driscoll, will invest £10mn to encourage a wave of private investment for jobs and new homes in the communities linked by the line.
It is hoped the restoration of passenger services on the route will create a new “economic corridor” sparking a regeneration of the towns it runs through.
Rail operator Northern will run the new passenger services, which will be fully operational by early 2024.
Jamie Driscoll’s visit
North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll visited Northumberland Park Metro Station in North Tyneside, where engineers are building a new passenger platform for the Northumberland Line.
Mayor Driscoll said:
“This is going to bring jobs, boost businesses, get homes built, reduce carbon emissions.
“£10mn from us is going to lever in £130mn, what’s not to like?”
Work is well underway
Stations contractor Morgan Sindall Infrastructure will carry out the construction work at all three sites.
Morgan Sindall Infrastructure’s construction works are already well underway at Newsham and works are approaching completion in Ashington.
Both Bedlington and Bebside stations feature two platforms, while Seaton Delaval has one. All will feature parking, accessible access, and links to cycling and walking routes to encourage sustainable travel.
Northumberland County Council Leader Glen Sanderson said: “This is a positive step forward as work continues at pace to restore this historic railway line by next summer, encouraging investment and growth across the North East.
“Once re-opened, the Northumberland Line will slash journey times for residents in half by delivering regular services for passengers that will connect them to new jobs, education and business opportunities.
“Along with the benefits to the economy and boosts to our education and tourism sectors, this line will bring a range of green benefits to support our climate change agenda, helping to reduce congestion and improve air quality on key roads by moving people away from car travel and onto public transport.”
Operations Director from Morgan Sindall Infrastructure Pieter Esbach said: “We’re pleased with how the project is progressing, the stations will help people connect to places within the local region boosting the local economy.
“We’re also working closely with the local community, we’ve created nine new apprenticeships for local people and 53 full time equivalent local jobs and we continue to engage with over 1,600 local school students inspiring future career opportunities.”
The Northumberland Line route has been used only by freight carriages since the 1960s.
Formerly known as the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne Line, it was closed to passengers by British Rail Chief Dr Richard Beeching, who closed 4,500 miles of railway line and 2,128 stations to save money.
This was a third of the track network and 55% of stations.
As well as the new stations to be built, 18 miles of track will be upgraded.
The train should be able to travel the length of the line in 36 minutes.
It has been proposed to run trains every half hour from Monday to Saturday, between 6am and 7.30pm, with one train per hour after 7.30pm and on Sundays.
You can follow the progress of the construction works through this newsletter and on the project website here: www.northumberlandline.uk/
This article is based on a press release from Jamie Driscoll’s office
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