Calls made for improved local rail services

Belford Station.
Belford Station.
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The significant social and economic benefits of an improved local rail service between Newcastle and Edinburgh have been outlined.

Campaigners from both sides of the border pressed the case for better connectivity at an event in Berwick on Tuesday night.

The meeting was organised by the recently-formed Berwick Regeneration Commission.

Coun Georgina Hill, member for Berwick East on the county council, said: “It’s difficult to overstate the benefit for Berwick if there were greater connectivity.

“We are uniquely placed between Edinburgh and Newcastle and an improved local rail service would deliver significant benefits to the economy, particularly tourism.”

She called for later trains to be introduced from Edinburgh to Berwick. She also called for a better service between Berwick and Morpeth.

South East Northumberland Rail Users’ Group (SENRUG) is also campaigning for rural stations to be reopened.

Chairman Dennis Fancett said: “We want local trains stopping at local stations. It’s very difficult to travel between parts of Northumberland at the moment.

“Long-distance train operators will only stop at one or two places because they are trying to get to Edinburgh or London as quickly as possible.

“We need a local service and, on the English side, that means extending the Newcastle to Morpeth service on to Berwick at least hourly during the day. We want it to stop at all the stations along the route and then we want new stations opened, particularly Belford and Beal but also possibly Warkworth to serve the Amble area.”