Northumberland’s Labour group is encouraging residents to have their say on the proposed rail link from Ashington to Newcastle, due to open in 2023.
The £162m project creates a rail service from Ashington, through Blyth and Seaton Delaval to Northumberland Park metro station. New platforms, footbridges and pedestrian access will be built and the service is due to open in 2023.
Labour Group leader Susan Dungworth said: “Infrastructure projects like this take a long time to complete and most of the leg work on this project was done when Labour was in power in Northumberland.
“The Labour-run council invested money, time and expertise getting the project to the point of becoming a reality. The cabinet also made sure the rail link was on the North of Tyne Authority agenda and secured the support of the Labour Mayor.
“This project could have been delivered years ago. Sadly, valuable time was lost because, for reasons known only to them, the then Conservative opposition deliberately delayed the project. It is hard to understand why anyone would want to stand in the way of such a great improvement for residents of the county.
“One of the biggest barriers to employment is travel. When this scheme is open it will provide an essential link into Newcastle City Centre. We have to think long term about transport needs and, though it doesn’t appear to be a necessity now, it will be when the economy is recovering from Covid.
“Good public transport links are also essential for tackling climate change. One train carrying 100 people is far better for the environment than 100 people travelling in 100 cars. Thought will have to be given to making train and other public travel much more convenient, efficient and affordable if we are ever to persuade people to stop using cars but we are very excited that this major improvement in public transport is finally getting going.
“We are now at the stage of public consultation, so this is an exciting time and we would urge people to make sure they have their say about the project which are convinced will bring much improved transport connections to the county.”
People can have their say at https://haveyoursay.northumberland.gov.uk/transport/nl/ from Monday 16 November.