New vision unveiled for future of North East rail and Metro - here's how to have your say on plans

A new vision of the future of the North East’s rail and Metro network has been unveiled.

By Kevin Clark
Monday, 14th February 2022, 5:19 pm

Now members of the public are being urged to have their say on the draft North East Rail and Metro Strategy (NERMS) and what the network could look like by 2035.

Developed on behalf of the North East Joint Transport Committee, the plan follows the adoption of the region’s shared vision for transport, the North East Transport Plan in 2021.

The strategy would see the region seek further devolved powers from Government so the North East can plan ahead and deliver a more seamless, co-ordinated and integrated transport system.

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Coun Martin Gannon

Some of the main commitments include:

:: Increasing the capacity and resilience of the East Coast Main Line and Durham Coast Line

:: Extending local rail and the Metro, upgrading existing networks and services and adding new routes and stations - including the Leamside Line and Northumberland Line

:: Introducing new more efficient electric trains on Metro and electric/battery/hydrogen trains on local rail

How the region's rail and Metro network looks now...

:: Improving existing stations including Sunderland and development of new stations including Gateshead East.

The strategy also sets out the region’s commitment to strengthen the case for investment in the North East’s main rail artery – The East Coast Main Line and the full reopening of the Leamside Line.

Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “Rail and Metro connectivity is absolutely vital for our region and opens up new opportunities for local people to access work, education and leisure.

“The North East rail system is in need of major investment to improve our rail network and ensure that our region has the capacity and infrastructure we need for generations to come.

...and how it could look

“Independent reports have shown levels of transport investment per head in the North East are seven times lower than in London – the disparity between our region and elsewhere in the UK is vast, and we need Government to address this and help us fund our ambitions.

“I hope members of the public take this opportunity to comment on the network improvements proposed. The case for improvement and expansion of local rail and Metro is simple – the more people who travel, the greater the benefits to the region.”

Have your say

The public consultation opens today, Monday, February 14, and runs for eight weeks until noon on April 11.

There are a number of ways people can be part of the consultation:

By phone – you can speak to a member of the rail team on 0191 433 2973 (Monday and Tuesday each week throughout the consultation from 9.30am-4.30pm)

Via email – you can email any comments, questions or suggestions to [email protected]

Take part in an online survey at www.transportnortheast.gov.uk/railandmetro

A number of online consultation events will take place in March and April where members of the public can find out more about the draft strategy and ask questions.

On-line consultation events will be held at:

Saturday, March 5, 10am

Tuesday, March 22, 12noon

Thursday, March 31, 10am

Tuesday, April 5, 6pm

Register a place to attend one of the sessions via eventbrite.co.uk/o/transport-north-east-31822147587 or call 0191 433 2973. Please note sessions will take place via Zoom.

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