With the summer recess period underway, I was able to join representatives from the Department for Transport, Northern Rail and Nexus earlier this week on a train journey along the Northumberland Line.
This is part of a number of route familiarisation specials with great progress continuing to be made including the appointment of a contractor to build the new stations at Bebside, Newsham and Seaton Delaval in Blyth Valley. This is fantastic news and subject to planning approvals is scheduled to commence in early 2022 with passenger trains running again in 2024.
The journey along the route was a great experience and departed from Newcastle Central Station. The first few minutes are on the East Coast Main Line including travelling through Manors and passing Newcastle United’s training ground. Just beyond the training ground the route forks off the main line to the right at Benton junction.
The train then ran parallel to the Metro and there will be an interchange at Northumberland Park and significant existing parking. Seghill came into view as we crossed into Blyth Valley and via Mare Close, we approached Seaton Delaval where the station will be located to the rear and to the right of the Hastings Arms.
Beyond Seaton Delaval, the train continued through New Hartley with people in their back gardens wondering what was happening with a passenger train rather than a freight train on the line. Newsham is the next stop after Seaton Delaval but not where the previous station was. It will be alongside the crossing at South Newsham on the A1061 with new and significant parking provided.
It was then interesting to travel across the western edge of Blyth and alongside the golf course. After crossing the Spine Road, the train slowed on the approach to Bebside which will be the second station serving Blyth and provide those living in a very busy part of the town the opportunity to travel into Newcastle using a different mode.
We then travelled over the river Blyth with spectacular views to the coast and inland. Bedlington Station was as far along the line that the train reached on this occasion with rolling stock not yet cleared to run as far as Ashington. Nevertheless, it was superb to see the vast majority of the Northumberland Line route which will be a very pleasurable journey whether for work or leisure.