THE British government has announced the reopening of the Northumberland Line from Newcastle to Ashington in summer 2024 as part of its Restoring Your Railways scheme, which aims to reinstate local services and restore stations and routes that were closed under the rationalisation programme ushered in by the Beeching Report of 1963.

The government is working with Northumberland County Council, infrastructure manager Network Rail and operator Northern to restore regular passenger services to the line, creating faster and easier journeys between Ashington and Newcastle.

The project includes the constriction of six new fully accessible stations at Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth Bebside, Newsham, Seaton Delaval and Northumberland Park.

The line will reduce journey times between Newcastle and Ashington from 1h 10min to 35 minutes, with services operating seven days a week. The line is also expected to reduce road congestion, improving air quality.

“We have been working so hard over recent years to make this scheme happen, getting all the necessary planning and stations approved and preparing the line for the major works,” says Northumberland County Council leader, Mr Glen Sanderson. “This is the moment we’ve been working towards, and I am so excited we’ve reached this point as we prepare to get trains rolling again through this part of our county.”

The Restoring Your Railways scheme has already seen the successful delivery of the Dartmoor Line project, where regular passenger services from Exeter to Okehamton were reintroduced in November 2021. The number of services operated by Great Western Railway (GWR) has since doubled.