Everything you need to know about the Northumberland Line and how it will change rail travel in the North East
Six new railway stations and half-hourly trains: What you need to know about the Northumberland Line.
Six new stations are set to be built under the £166 million plans and construction is now due to start this summer.
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Where are the new stations going to be and where will the trains run from?
Rail operator Northern is planning to run a service between Newcastle Central and a new station in Ashington. The other five new stops will be Bedlington, Blyth Bebside, Newsham, Seaton Delaval and a new platform at Northumberland Park Metro station.
The train will also stop at Manors and should be able to travel the length of the line in 36 minutes.
How often will the trains run?
It has been proposed to run trains every half hour from Monday to Saturday, between 6am and 7.30pm, with one train per hour after 7.30pm and on Sundays.
When will the railway line be open?
The current aim is to have the first services running in December 2023.
What has happened this week?
The Northumberland Line project passed a critical milestone on Monday as it was confirmed that a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) has been granted for it to go ahead. That gives formal authorisation from the Government for essential things like the closure of level crossings, land purchases, and track works.
A public inquiry was held last year which heard 22 objections against the plans, but it has been decided the “localised” adverse impacts are “clearly outweighed by the significant benefits that will be delivered”.
What comes next?
As well as the new stations, 18 miles of track will be upgraded to return passenger services to a route that has been reserved for freight trains since the Beeching cuts of the 1960s.
Morgan Sindall Infrastructure has been appointed primary contractor and planning permission has already been granted for all six new stations.
Where will the stations be?
At the northernmost end of the line, the new station in Ashington will be at Kenilworth Road, between the War Memorial Garden and Ashington Cricket Club. The layout there has been chosen to allow future extensions of the line to areas like Newbiggin and Woodhorn.
The next stop, Bedlington, will see a new two-platform stop created just north of the existing level crossing at Station Road.
The new Blyth Bebside station will be on the western side of the A19, just south of homes at Heather Lea.
The Newsham station is due to be on land south of the A1061, where an existing level crossing is also set to be replaced with a new bridge.
Seaton Delaval will have just one platform for both north and southbound services on a site south of the A192, with access for vehicles expected to be created next to the Hastings Arms pub.
And a new platform will be built at the existing Northumberland Park, to allow passengers to switch onto the Tyne and Wear Metro network.