Progress on track, but cost of station project unknown

Beford station.
Beford station.
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Progress is being made on a long-running scheme to bring a north Northumberland village’s railway station back into use.

But despite claims made by a group fighting proposed windfarms in the area, more funding may well be needed as the precise costs of the project are not yet known.

A campaign to build a platform at Belford Station in order to allow passengers to use it again has been running for years. Currently trains do come into the station, but only to turn around.

A Northumberland County Council spokeswoman said: “Work on the proposal to provide a platform at Belford Station is progressing with pedestrian surveys on the footpath crossings having been carried out earlier this month and ground investigations being finalised in the next few weeks.

“These are works associated with Network Rail’s GRIP 4 process, at the end of which we will have all the information required for the detailed design.

“The next stages will involve applying for planning approval for the scheme and as a precursor to the application being made, wider consultation on the proposal will be carried out.”

In a recent newsletter sent round to villagers, the Middleton Burn Action Group referred to a pledge by the developers of the Belford Burn windfarm, Energiekontor, for £500,000 for costs associated with a new station approach road.

It said: “We understand that there are already county council funds identified for that purpose, so the offer is really to the county council to spend, not for the benefit of Belford, but elsewhere in Northumberland.”

But the council’s spokeswoman added: “The council has allocated funding to the project through the Local Transport Plan Programme but has also been actively seeking external funding. A bid to the Department for Transport’s New Stations Fund was unsuccessful. Detailed costs for the project will be known at the end of Network Rail’s GRIP 5 process. ”