Major step forward for Northumberland line future expected this week

160621 northumberland line pic Tyne Tees
It is hoped construction work will start in Summer 2022. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The Northumberland Line rail project is expected to take a major step forward this week.

Two new stations, at Bedlington and Seaton Delaval, are both on track to be given the green light by Northumberland County Council this week.

If approved, both would be next to former stops on the old Ashington, Blyth and Tyne Line which shut to passenger travel in 1964.

However, while the prospect of the return of commuter rail services to south east Northumberland has been largely welcomed, the proposals have also raised some concerns, particularly over car parking.

A comment submitted by East Bedlington Parish Council said that while it supported the Northumberland Line scheme, it was opposed to the loss of green space and "wildlife habitat" to parking.

Similar issues were raised over plans for Seaton Delaval, with Seaton Valley Parish Council, pointing to fears that too much land has been allocated for parking, with estimates for use once the line opens branded "grossly overestimated".

The proposals for the two stations are due to be ruled on by NCC's Strategic Planning Committee, made up of councillors from across the county.

  • Which stations will be served by the Northumberland line?

It is hoped the Northumberland line will be operational by 2024 Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Once completed, the Northumberland Line is due to connect to the Tyne and Wear Metro network at Northumberland Park, in North Tyneside.

Stops on the route are planned at Seaton Delaval, Blyth, Bedlington, Newsham and Ashington.

While ministers have stumped up an initial £34 million for design work, the final bill is expected to be closer to £166 million.

Plans for the Seaton Delaval stop, in Astley Road, include a single platform, parking for 284 vehicles and dedicated pedestrian access from Wheatridge and Whytrigg Close.

In Bedlington, the station planned at Station Street would have two platforms and parking for just 35 cars.

A separate application has also been lodged for a 31-space car park in Liddle's Street, north of the proposed stop.

Work at Seaton Delaval is expected to take about a year, while construction at Bedlington is predicted to take about 18 months, including the planned Liddle's Street car park.

Plans for a new station in Ashington were approved earlier this year, followed by the green light for changes to the Tyne and Wear Metro's Northumberland Park stop, which will allow passengers to switch between the two services.

Further applications have been submitted for Blyth Bebside and Newsham, but are yet to be decided.

Ahead of the construction work starting, however, a public inquiry on an application for a Transport and Works Act Order from the Government to allow work to begin is due to commence from November 9.