Northumberland leader welcomes delay on controversial timetable changes

A council leader has cautiously welcomed news that plans by LNER to change its timetable on the East Coast Main Line have been delayed.

Friday, 27th August 2021, 11:06 am
Updated Friday, 27th August 2021, 11:20 am
A high-speed LNER train crosses the border into Northumberland.

Councillor Glen Sanderson, leader of Northumberland County Council, was responding to an update on the rail industry’s proposals for a new timetable, originally scheduled to come into force in May 2022.

LNER says the delay to the changes are a result of a “combination of issues” that need to be rectified before a significant timetable change can be introduced to operate reliably for customers. These issues include responses received to the public timetable consultation.

Cllr Sanderson said: "While we welcome the announcement that any new timetable changes will not be introduced for another year, I am very concerned it is just pushing problems back for another 12 months.

“Clearly there is a great deal of public concern both from residents and businesses about these plans and I still believe these proposed changes are a huge and unwelcome backwards step – particularly for Berwick and Morpeth.

“At a time when we're recovering from a global pandemic and doing everything we can to revitalise our towns and our economy, any reductions to rail services in our county would send completely the wrong message.

“It is positive to hear LNER and others are acting on feedback and reinforces the need for them to keep talking and listening to our residents. In the meantime we will continue to to work with them to press the case for Northumberland."

More than 5,000 people and organisations submitted their views to LNER during the consultation and over 130 stakeholders joined their briefing sessions.