Transport Secretary Grant Shapps visiting North East to unveil vision for region's rail network

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is setting out his ambitious stall for the North East's rail network on a visit to the region today.

Monday, 6th January 2020, 12:01 am
Updated Monday, 6th January 2020, 7:04 am
Grant Shapps. Picture by Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Grant Shapps. Picture by Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

The Tory MP will be in Peterlee, Newcastle, and Northumberland to highlight government’s ambition for infrastructure investment and better journeys across region.

Among the Transport Secretary’s stops is the Horden Peterlee station site, where a new £10.55million project set to be finished in May.

Horden Peterlee will be served by one train per hour calling at all stations between Newcastle and Middlesbrough, and has been supported by £4.4million from the Department for Transport’s New Stations Fund.

Mr Shapps said the project will improve connectivity for an area currently with no station over a 20 kilometre stretch.

The Transport Secretary will also visit Blyth to see first-hand the potential for restoring passenger services along the Ashington to Blyth line, which his team said would undo more than half a century of damage following the Beeching Cuts.

The Government has confirmed it will establish a £500million fund to explore reopening former routes which could benefit communities who lost vital transport connections.

Mr Shapps said: “2020 will be a year of action on the railways with the North sitting at the heart of the improvements.

“Investing in new stations like Horden Peterlee will deliver more modern, reliable services for passengers. We are also ambitious to restore connections to communities who have lost out, and the Northumberland line has huge potential to deliver that.

“Our focus is levelling up infrastructure across the country, ensuring passengers see the benefit of new trains, new stations and fairer fares.”

“In another boost to the region, LNER passengers are also benefitting from a single-leg fares trial, introduced last week on journeys from London to Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh, giving people flexible, simpler and better value-for-money tickets.

“This means no more single tickets priced at £1 less than the return.”

Mr Shapps’ visit comes after the Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised he would not let down those are not “natural Tories” who “lent him” their votes in the general election.

The traditional Labour seats of North West Durham, Sedgefield and Blyth Valley were among those to fall to the Conservatives in December 2019.