Almost 500 residents call for improved rail services

From left, Coun Geoff Martindale, chairman of Beadnell Parish Council, Coun Heather Cairns, Coun John Woodman, John Holwell, Sir Alan Beith MP and Coun Kate Cairns.
From left, Coun Geoff Martindale, chairman of Beadnell Parish Council, Coun Heather Cairns, Coun John Woodman, John Holwell, Sir Alan Beith MP and Coun Kate Cairns.
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A petition calling for improved train services at a north Northumberland station has been handed over to the area’s MP.

As reported by the Gazette in July, Seahouses man John Holwell, who has a background in transport and the rail industry, hopes to get more train services to stop at Chathill.

Currently just two trains stop at Chathill each day, around 7am and 7pm, connecting rail users to Newcastle on old rolling stock.

John is specifically targeting the Cross Country franchise, which he thinks is a more realistic target than East Coast.

His petition calls for at least three trains a day to stop at Chathill, linking the station to other destinations further afield, for example, Leeds and York to the south and Edinburgh to the north.

Last Saturday, he handed over his petition to Sir Alan Beith, who has agreed to pass it on to Rail Minister, Claire Perry, as well as the three train operating companies whose services pass through Chathill – Northern, East Coast and Cross Country.

John said: “The petition was signed by nearly 500 people of whom 90 per cent were local and this illustrates the strength of feeling about this issue.

“This equates to more than 10 per cent of the population of Seahouses, Beadnell and Ellingham.

“Rail passenger travel has increased by 50 per cent or more over the last 15 years, but the service at Chathill has remained the same and people in north Northumberland are missing out on this nationwide move to rail.

“The petitioners hope that Cross Country trains could stop at least three times per day which would provide a fast service to Edinburgh, Newcastle, York, Leeds, Birmingham and further south.

“The parish councils at Ellingham, Beadnell and Seahouses were all supportive and their help, along with a good number of retailers, garages and hotels, has been greatly appreciated.”

A number of county and parish councillors were also at the petition handover.