Councillors oppose proposed cuts to Northumberland rail services

Leaders in Northumberland have urged rail bosses to pause plans to cut services to the county's stations and focus instead on other issues limiting speed and capacity on the East Coast Mainline.

North East leaders say it would be a "disaster" for the region if the proposals are allowed to go ahead in their current form.

Berwick and Morpeth look set to be two of the stations most affected if the new timetables are introduced next year.

Glen Sanderson, leader of Northumberland County Council says it is all about "shaving a few minutes off the journey time from London".

Under the current proposals, no LNER services would stop at Morpeth between 8am - 8pm, Monday - Saturday, although other providers would continue to provide some services between Newcastle and Edinburgh.

In Berwick, passengers would see trains to London, York, Darlington, Newcastle and Edinburgh cut from one per hour, to one every two hours.

Alnwick, however, is likely to see an increase in available services, including northbound services running later during the week and an extra commuter train to Edinburgh.

Berwick councillor Isabel Hunter warns the town could see 72 fewer trains a week stopping at its station.

In response, an LNER spokesperson says:

“We propose reducing the frequency of our services at Berwick in the middle of the day and slightly increasing them at neighbouring Alnmouth to better match frequency with demand, while also protecting fast journey times on the overall route. There will also be additional LNER services at the start and end of the day, alongside a proposed increase in CrossCountry services at Berwick, which become hourly.

“Overall, both stations, which serve a similar number of customers a day, will have a train each hour to and from Edinburgh and Newcastle, alternating between LNER and CrossCountry.”