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Cameron: 'HS3' is about connectivity in the north

David Cameron said a third high-speed rail line in the north, known as HS3, was about "connectivity" not just faster journey times.

"It's recognising that if we link up the great cities of the north of England they could become a northern powerhouse to rival the dominance of London," the Prime Minister said.

He added: "It's a fundamental rebalancing, it's part of our long-term economic plan and we're only able to do it because we've got a successful, growing economy."

Newcastle Airport announces direct flights to New York

New York City skyline. Credit: PA

Newcastle Airport has announced their first scheduled nonstop trans-Atlantic service.

United Airlines will be introducing a new nonstop flight between Newcastle and its New York hub, Newark Liberty International Airport next year, subject to government approval.

The flights, which will be operated by Boeing 757-200 aircraft, will run from 23rd May to 7th September 2015 five times a week.

The cost of an economy ticket will start from just over £500 and will take less than eight hours.

Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council and lead of the LA7 shareholders says he is delighted with the announcement:

This new service will be hugely significant, in terms of further enhancing regional connectivity, growing the regional economy, attracting inward investment and encouraging inbound tourism from North America.

The Local Authorities and our partner organisations will work hard to make the route a success.

– Councillor Iain Malcolm

Newcastle Airport employs 3,200 people on-site and contributes £646 million to the local economy each year.

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Metro train evacuated after fire

A Metro was evacuated this morning (October 24) after a train fire.

The fire service were called at around 7:40am after reports of the fire on the carriages between Howdon and Hadrian Road.

Evacuation at Hadrian Road station. Credit: @RavistaRonzio

Commuters were forced to wait outside Hadrian Road for another train.

Commuters faced delays to journeys after being evacuated. Credit: @RavistaRonzio

One commuter who was on board said that they were "forced to evacuate" after the back carriage "set alight and filled with smoke!"

The fire started between Hadrian Road and Howden around 7:30am. Credit: @RavistaRonzio

Metro services were suspended between North Shields and St James - they were then reinstated between Wallsend and St James.

Trains are now running.

Newport Bridge to reopen next week

Newport Bridge Newport Bridge connects High Street and Clarence Place across the River Usk. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The A1032 across Newport Bridge on Teesside is due to reopen to vehicles next week on Wednesday, 29th October.

The restoration of the eighty-year-old Grade Two structure began at the end of July and were complicated when the need for extensive maintenance was uncovered.

Stockton Council has adapted the way the repairs are being carried out and a large tunnel-style scaffold has been built to allow motorists to use the road while the work is going on.

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, Councillor Mike Smith, said plans to reopen the bridge have been weather dependent:

The very high winds we’ve had in the last few days have made it unsafe to progress the scaffold as quickly as we’d have liked.

It’s unfortunate that we’ve lost this time but the forecasts are not indicating weather that should cause any further delays and contractors are working flat out so the bridge can open with two lanes in each direction from Wednesday.

We know the works have caused a lot of frustration and look forward to the congestion easing once the bridge reopens.

– Councillor Mike Smith

There will be a 17.5 tonne weight limit throughout the works, which will prevent use by some heavy goods vehicles, but buses will be unaffected and access for cyclists and pedestrians will be maintained throughout.

Train lines blocked between Newcastle and Sunderland

Northern Rail have tweeted that due to a derailed freight train, lines are blocked between Newcastle and Sunderland.

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