Published: Thursday, 28th July 2016
£1bn Metro and local rail services investment strategy designed to put whole towns and communities back on the national railway map has been agreed by the North East Combined Authority…
The North East Combined Authority has agreed a strategy for investment in the region’s existing Metro system and local rail network designed to improve passenger journeys and kick start an expansion of high quality local rail for the area.
The strategy has identified a network of disused or under-used rail routes across North East England which could benefit from new or better services, putting whole towns and communities back on the national railway map.
The strategy, approved by the combined authority’s Leadership Board, also sets out the case for more than £1bn of new investment in the Metro system over the next 20 years.
The strategy identifies the potential to bring disused or little-used rail routes that thread across Northumberland, Durham and Tyne and Wear back to life for local passenger services.
The blueprint highlighted the possibility of putting towns including Ashington, Peterlee and Washington back on the railway map as well as creating new links into business parks such as the Team Valley, Metrocentre, Cobalt and the new International Advanced Manufacturing Plant north of Sunderland.
The board heard that advances in train technology mean a new train fleet could also have potential to operate on lines beyond the current Metro system, opening the way for the expansion of local rail services and better integration
Tobyn Hughes, managing director for Transport at the Combined Authority, said: “We believe some existing and disused local rail corridors can be combined with Metro to create a single network at a lower cost than new-build railways
By fusing local rail and Metro together we can create something new and better than the sum of those two parts.”