LNER reveals why major cuts to rail services are planned in parts of Northumberland

LNER has explained why a major reduction in train services is being proposed in some parts of Northumberland.

By Ian Smith
Friday, 18th June 2021, 10:48 am

Berwick and Morpeth bear the brunt of the cuts that could come into force in LNER’s proposed timetable from May 2022, although there would be a small increase in trains calling at Alnmouth.

An LNER spokesperson explained: “Our proposed May 2022 timetable has been developed by Network Rail with all train and freight operators on the East Coast Main Line.

"It has involved balancing long-distance, high-speed, regional and commuter/local services alongside the needs of the rail freight sector.

A train crossing the Royal Border Bridge at Berwick.

"Due to this approach, our focus on maximising the benefits of investment in the East Coast Main Line for passengers and managing remaining capacity constraints on the route, the timetable does involve a series of trade-offs.

“The purpose of our consultation is to seek views on the proposed changes, which include 39 more LNER services each weekday, up to 17,000 extra seats per day and reduced journey times and on long-distance services between London, the East Midlands, the North of England and Scotland, while protecting reliability.

“We propose reducing the frequency of our services at Berwick and increasing them at neighbouring Alnmouth to better match frequency with demand, while also protecting fast journey times.

"Under the proposed new May 2022 timetable, we will reduce our Berwick-upon-Tweed services from one train per hour to one train every other hour.

Morpeth Railway Station. Picture Jane Coltman

“Berwick-upon-Tweed will still have one LNER train every other hour which is a better service than other stations with similar passenger numbers.

"Alnmouth which has a similar number of London-bound passengers as Berwick will have a small service increase and journey time reduction to and from London, resulting in the same London-bound service frequency as Berwick-upon-Tweed.

“Overall, both Berwick-upon-Tweed and Alnmouth stations will have an average of at least one train per hour to and from Edinburgh and Newcastle, alternating between LNER and CrossCountry.

"Both Berwick-upon-Tweed and Alnmouth will have at least 10 LNER services per weekday in each direction, and a similar frequency on weekends, with opportunities in between direct LNER services to connect with other LNER services and onto Cross Country at Newcastle or York.

Alnmouth Railway Station.

“Berwick-upon-Tweed and Alnmouth will benefit from new and more regular direct connections to Peterborough, Newark North Gate, and Doncaster, providing improved strategic connectivity to many parts of Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Cambridgeshire and East Anglia, and there will be journey time enhancements to and from York, Newcastle and Edinburgh. Both stations will also benefit from later last trains from London, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

“At Morpeth, LNER proposes to focus improvements on the start and end of day services with later last trains from London (departure 20.03), Newcastle (departure 23.08), and Edinburgh (departure 22.00); and removing LNER station calls during the middle of the day.

"While LNER will no longer call at Morpeth between 8am and 8pm (except Sundays), this will facilitate station calls at Morpeth by FirstGroup’s new Open Access Operator, which will provide five trains per day per direction calling at London King’s Cross, Newcastle, Morpeth and Edinburgh.

"These additional calls during the middle of the day will continue to provide direct connectivity to London, and, in addition to Northern’s hourly service between Morpeth and Newcastle, will provide connections to LNER faster and more frequent services between Newcastle and London.”

Berwick Railway Station.

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