Campaign to reopen Leamside railway line gathers steam

Campaigners have called on the government to reopen the Leamside railway line between County Durham and Gateshead.

More than 1,800 people have signed a petition calling for the reopening of the Leamside railway line between County Durham and Gateshead.

The line runs from Pelaw to Ferryhill, via Washington and Penshaw. It was closed 53 years ago and mothballed in 1991, but now campaigners want it reopened as part of the government's Integrated Rail Plan.

Logan Guy looking up at the Victoria Viaduct in Washington

Teenager, Logan Guy, is one of the campaigners. He told ITV News Tyne Tees he had never been on a train until the age of 16 and would like to have the connectivity a nearby line would offer.

He said: "We're completely disconnected from most of the region. Even from our own city to a certain extent.

It limits our social lives, employment opportunities, It's just something that we desperately need here. Keeping jobs in Washington. That's so crucial. You know, we want people to be able to grow up here, stay here, grow old here, but also in that time having a good job that they can get to, which is really crucial.

Logan Guy
A train on the Leamside Line, with Penshaw Monument in the background, in 1991. Credit: 'Memories of Washington in Pictures' Facebook page

The Washington and West Sunderland MP, Sharon Hodgson, presented the petition in parliament on Wednesday and said all the MPs who represent constituencies that take in the line are in favour of reinstating it.

She said it is imperative for jobs, transport and the local economy across the North East region.

It would be a huge boost for everyone who lives down the stretch of that line. The connectivity, the accessibility to maybe look for jobs in parts of the region that just wasn't available. For people in Washington, it's the largest town without light rail in the whole of the country. It's just, you know, not acceptable. It would massively transform people's lives.

Sharon Hodgson MP, Washington and Sunderland West, Labour

A spokesperson from the Department for Transport said: "“Restoring the Leamside Line is being considered as part of our Integrated Rail Plan, which is focused on how we can best deliver rail projects and better journeys for passengers across the North and Midlands.”


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