New rail service will not be stopping at extra stations

An appeal to get a new rail service to make additional stops in Northumberland has fallen on deaf ears.

Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:29 am

From December, TransPennine Express is planning to run a new hourly service to Edinburgh, via Morpeth, extending the existing Liverpool to Newcastle service.

At a meeting in Berwick, Stuart McNaughton, strategic transport policy offer at Northumberland County Council, said: “Prior to Christmas, TransPennine Express consulted on that and we responded strongly.

“They have committed to stopping at Morpeth but there is a clear opportunity within that for additional stops in Northumberland to improve the strategic connectivity to places like Edinburgh, Liverpool and Manchester, but also providing improved internal connectivity by providing additional stops at Berwick, Alnmouth, Morpeth and Cramlington.

“We think there was a very strong case to do that but unfortunately TransPennine Express came back last week and, to quote from them, said ‘capacity on the East Coast Main Line is constrained, making additional calls along the entire route challenging for all operators. We are unable to secure pathing for additional calls on the East Coast Main Line north of Newcastle except for the planned permitted call at Morpeth’.

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“That is really frustrating and disappointing.”

However, the council is planning to challenge the decision.

Coun Richard Wearmouth said: “We are going to do some work looking at whether that is actually correct. I can understand some of the issues with stopping at Cramlington where the line speed is very high but surely it shouldn’t be that difficult to stop trains at Berwick? I suspect what the train operator is really interested in is getting to Edinburgh as quickly as possible.”