June 2014 marks five years since the publication of the Connecting Communities report into potential opportunities to expand the rail network. This blog will be publishing a set of posts during June to review the progress that has been made to date. This is the ninth post in the “Five Years On” series.
This post reviews the progress of two of the railway reopening schemes in the North East.
Ashington and Blyth
The restoration of passenger services to Ashington would use the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne route. The line is currently open to freight services. It had indicative costs of £34m and the BCR was 1.1 and stations were planned Seaton Delaval, Bedlington, Newsham (for Blyth) and Ashington.
The reopening of the route is supported by the South East Northumberland Rail User Group. Since 2009, a number of reports have been produced and the GRIP 1 report has just been completed.
The council has allocated £750,000 to commission the reports required to reopen the route and services on the line to Ashington were recently included in the Draft Northern and Transpennine Franchise Consultation
The report proposed the reopening of the entire Leamside line with a dynamic loop. The proposal was costed at £86m and the BCR was 1.4.
There have been two options for restoring a rail connection to Washington.
Heavy Rail services along the whole Leamside route. It would act as a diversionary route for freight from the ECML through Durham as well as access to communities along the route.
Tyne and Wear Metro services approaching from the north and the east. The most recent draft consultation document from Nexus has suggested that the preferred option to serve Washington would be by running railway services into the centre of Washington, with services from Pelaw and South Hylton.