New timetable impacting Morpeth, Alnmouth, and Berwick railway stations will benefit the region, Rail Minister says

Rail Minister Huw Merriman said changes to the East Coast Mainline Timetable will “be of benefit” to the North East during a visit to Northumberland.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The minister was visiting Blyth to observe progress on the Northumberland Line project, set to restore passenger services between Ashington and Newcastle 60 years after they were removed.

A new timetable for East Coast Main Line stations, including Morpeth, Alnmouth, and Berwick-upon-Tweed, is set to come into effect in December, but the final timetable has not yet been confirmed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A draft proposal, however, sparked ire from Northumberland campaigners and politicians last year as it proposed a reduced number of services each week stopping at the county’s stations, in both the Edinburgh and London directions.

Rail Minister Huw Merriman visited Northumberland this week. (Photo by National World)Rail Minister Huw Merriman visited Northumberland this week. (Photo by National World)
Rail Minister Huw Merriman visited Northumberland this week. (Photo by National World)

Mr Merriman told the Northumberland Gazette: “We are currently looking at changing the east coast timetable to improve services. This has been in the pipeline for a couple of years.

“We are just getting the sign off across governments so I cannot talk about the details, but this is part of an investment. We are looking at upscaling the timetable to deliver more services.

“The train operators have invested in staff, so that they have got the staff to drive the trains.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We are talking about expanding the timetable, not actually decreasing it. There will of course be some changes but those changes as a whole will be a benefit to the North East. I cannot talk about specifics because we have not yet agreed it.”

The minister also reiterated the government’s position that staffed ticket offices should not be scrapped where they currently exist, including in Alnmouth, Berwick, and Morpeth.

A national consultation had been opened on plans to do so last year, but a strong backlash forced the proposals to be abandoned.

Mr Merriman said: “With regards to the existing train stations, any ticket office that is there, has been there, will remain open. The government is committed to keeping ticket offices open.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The new stations that have been built [on the Northumberland Line] are actually built without a ticket office in mind because the ticket machines take that process over. That is the case across the country.”