Northumberland County Council (NCC) has commissioned an £850,000 feasibility study into re-opening the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne line, in conjunction with Network Rail.
The council has already established that to make the scheme attractive to potential users and to support regeneration, a seven days a week, twice an hour at peak times service will be needed, with a journey time between Ashington and central Newcastle of just over 30 minutes. To achieve this a dynamic passing loop would be needed near Seghill, unless the paths allocated to freight trains can be suitably adjusted.
NCC has committed £5 million for detailed development work. In February 2015, the council allocated £30m to the project in its budgets for 2015/16 and 16/17. The study, to Network Rail’s GRIP2 level of detail, is due to be completed next summer. (GRIP = Network Rail’s Governance for Railway Investment Projects process, Stage 2 is Feasibility.)
- For more information, see RAIL 786, published on October 28.