Tyneside Left Out In The Cold as Government Panel Guides Northern Trains
"Rail campaigners in the North East are not happy that County Durham, Tyneside and Northumberland have been left out of the advisory panel set up by the government to help lead the Northern Trains franchise, which is now directly managed by the government as an Operator of Last Resort.
The North East Branch of Railfuture, the independent voluntary group that campaigns for a bigger and better railway, says that it is not right that virtually every area across the Northern railway network is represented, apart from the areas that are managed by the North East Joint Transport Committee.
Railfuture North East Branch Chair Keith Simpson said: “There is already a tendency of Northern’s management to over-focus on the Leeds – Manchester corridor, and not consider the requirements of key commuter routes into Newcastle. The absence of a strong voice round the table representing this region is a worrying further development of that, leaving us with little confidence that this region will, even under government ownership, receive the rail service it deserves which is so necessary to re-invigorating the local economy.”
“Who for instance will be considering the requirements of Cramlington, Northumberland’s largest town with a rail station with population of 35,000, but without a train arriving into Newcastle before 08:15, and then only an hourly service after that? And what about delivering on the objective to cut 20 minutes off the rail journey time between Teesside and Tyneside, by running passenger services over the Stillington freight line, or delivering new stations at Team Valley, Ferryhill and Gilsland?”
“We urgently call on the Department For Transport to appoint a local authority representative from the North East Joint Transport Committee, to augment the expert panel and confirm there is a level playing field across all the regions in the north.”
Railfuture North East represents an area stretching north from Teesside to Berwick, and from Carlisle in the west to Saltburn in the east. It has 7 key rail campaign priorities, details of which can be found on its website www.railfuture.org.uk/North+East+Branch. It urges those that support its campaigns to join the group to help its voice to be held more clearly."
Budget March 2020 - Darlington Station
"Overall, we welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to Darlington and the wider regeneration of the area that redevelopment of the station will bring. New platforms to the east of the current station will allow more southbound trains in particular to call at Darlington, without having to cross the northbound lines to reach the platforms. Increasing capacity through Darlington is a positive step which we support.
We are however concerned if the detail of the plan removes the ability for local trains from Bishop Auckland to run through to Teesside. This is an important facility as 50% of the passengers from Bishop Auckland are not travelling to Darlington itself but are travelling through it, so we believe it is important this facility to be retained."