Free parking for at least two years for Northumberland rail line users

Rail users on the revived Northumberland Line are expected to have free car parking for at least two years, according to transport bosses.

Services are due to resume in 2023, with six new stations planned.

Parking charges could then be introduced once the service has established itself.Six new stations planned, including:

  • Ashington

  • Bedlington Station

  • Blyth Bebside

  • Newsham

  • Seaton Delaval

  • As well as new platforms at the Tyne and Wear Metro's Northumberland Park stop

John Beynon, county councillor for Morpeth Stobhill, said: "I think [without the free parkinh], like you have in Morpeth where there is charged car parking, that people would be parking in surrounding streets.

"The last thing we want is residents who live nearby to be angered by people parking outside their homes."

According to a report for Northumberland County Council's (NCC) Corporate Services and Economic Growth Overview and Scrutiny Committee, an agreement on whether the local authority or transport operator Northern Rail will run station car parks on the line is due to be finalised later this year.

However, the paper does not commit to any long term plans and admits that future charges could become a 'valuable revenue stream'.

Labour opposition county councillor Elizabeth Dunn, the panel's vice chairman, urged transport chiefs to avoid any policy which could end up "discouraging" use of public transport.

Stuart McNaughton, the NCC's strategic transport manager, told the committee that they would aim to create detailed surveys of the car parks and residential streets.

He said: "Depending on the level of use, that would inform a decision on whether it was kept across all six stations, or if there was a unique solution for each individual station, depending on any issues which emerge."

Previously known as the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne Line, the Northumberland Line has run only freight services since the closure of passenger stations in 1964.

Government ministers have already allocated at least £34 million to the project.