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25 years since Settle-Carlisle railway line was saved

The Waverley steam train heading into North Yorkshire over the Ribblehead viaduct. Credit: PA
The service had been threatened with closure since the early 1980s. Credit: PA
Michael Portillo was the Transport Secretary when the decision to save the railway line was taken. Credit: PA

Celebrations will be taking place today to mark 25 years since the Settle-Carlisle railway line was saved.

It had been threatened with closure since the early 1980s but Michael Portillo, the then-Transport Secretary, took steps to safeguard it. A commemorative train ride will take place later this morning.

Thousands fined for driving with no insurance

Thousands of drivers across the North East have been fined for driving without insurance.

Between 2010 and 2013, almost 16,000 motorists were sentenced for the offence.

But the numbers are falling; in 2010, 5649 were fined across Northumbria, North Yorkshire, Durham and Cleveland.

In 2012 that had dropped to 5116.

Across the UK, almost half a million drivers were caught and fined for having no insurance between 2010 and 2013, according to research compiled by Churchill Car Insurance.


Police warning over laser pens being shone at planes

Police are warning about the risks of shining laser pens at aeroplanes.

It comes as figures from the Civil Aviation Authority show almost 100 pilots reported being targeted over the North East in the last two years. Offenders could face large fines or a jail sentence if they are caught.

Bruce Storey, from Northumbria Police, said the offence went "way beyond a prank". Meanwhile, Graeme Mason, from Newcastle Airport, stressed that "heavy security" is in place to keep passengers safe.


Lorry carrying potentially radioactive substance comes off A697 in Northumberland

A lorry carrying a hazardous substance has come off the road on the A697 in Northumberland. Police say that the material in the lorry poses a very low level of potential radioactivity. The substance has not slipped onto the road.

The road will remain closed between Lemmington Crossroads and the Bridge of Aln until the vehicle has been removed.

The substance the lorry was carrying has been identified to pose a very low risk, however, we recognise people may be concerned and I would like to reassure them that everything is being done to ensure the vehicle is removed and the road is reopened as soon as possible."

– Chief Superintendent Chris Thomson, Northumbria Police

Fog to hit region as police warn drivers

Northumbria Police are warning motorists to be wary of fog this morning.

The foggy conditions are expected to be seen across the North East until midday today.

Officers are asking members of the public to plan extra time for journeys, adapt their speed, leave safe distances between vehicles and use fog lights when visibility is seriously reduced.

East Coast franchise list revealed

A list of bidders for the East Coast mainline franchise has been published. Credit: PA wire

The Government has published a shortlist of three bidders under plans to re-privatise the East Coast mainline - which runs through the North East - sparking a row over whether the rail franchise should remain publicly-run.

Some of the biggest transport firms which already run rail routes across the UK are on the list of preferred bidders for the 393-mile route from London to Edinburgh.

These include First Group, Stagecoach, Virgin, Keolis and Eurostar.

Unions and other groups have been campaigning for months to halt re-privatisation of the franchise, which has been publicly-run since 2009.

One union official accused the Government of 'economic vandalism'.

Rail Minister Stephen Hammond said: "Giving passengers more will be at the heart of the new East Coast franchise.

"That means new services and journeys that are faster, more punctual and more comfortable."

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