Map created by Alan Young and used with his permission | Disused Stations websiteThe Northumberland line has been the subject of a reopening campaign since at least the 1990s. The most recent campaign, led by South East Northumberland Rail User Group (SENRUG) and Northumberland County Council, has been successful.
The council is now working with AECOM/SLC Rail and Network Rail to build new stations at Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth Bebside, Newsham, and Seaton Delaval, along with the other infrastructure required to restore passenger services between Ashington and Newcastle Central.
According to a 2019 report produced by SLC Property on behalf of Northumberland County Council, construction will be undertaken in four phases, with phase one taking 18 months and subsequent phases six months each, totalling three years. Phase 1 includes new stations at Ashington, Bedlington, and Newsham stations, and two new platforms at Northumberland Park station on the Tyne and Wear Metro network. Blyth Bebside and Seaton Delaval stations will be built during Phase 2. Source: Six new stations could open if Ashington to Newcastle passenger trains resume, by Ben O’Connell, on ChronicleLive website.
© OpenStreetMap contributors | OpenStreetMap copyright notice | View context map
© OpenStreetMap contributors | OpenStreetMap copyright notice | View context mapNorthumberland County Council projects that services will start in winter 2023, according to a report in the December 2020 issue of Modern Railways. A journey from Ashington to Newcastle will take 35 minutes, with two trains per hour from Monday to Saturday and an hourly service on a Sunday. It is not yet known if Northern will operate the service or if the line will become part of the Tyne and Wear Metro system. A decision is expected during winter 2020–2021.
Northumberland County Council would like battery-operated rolling stock to be used, and Vivarail has stated its intention to trial a hybrid Class 230 capable of operating under 25kV AC overhead / battery power in early 2021. Freight trains will continue to use the track. Provision will be made at Ashington for a possible future extensions to Newbiggin and Woodhorn.
The Northumberland line is one of the first six programmes (and the only reopening scheme) to be accelerated by Network Rail’s Project Speed initiative. The aim of Project Speed (Swift, Pragmatic and Efficient Enhancement Delivery) is to halve the time and slash the cost of delivery of railway infrastructure schemes. Source: Modern Railways, September 2020, page 9.
Beeching Reversed: Reopening of the Northumberland line, on RailEngineer website
Changes made to the proposed new Northumberland line rail link, on Northumberland Gazette website (July 2020)
Six new stations could open if Ashington to Newcastle passenger trains resume, by Ben O’Connell, on ChronicleLive website