The Anonymous Widower

Northumberland Line On Track As Approval Granted

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

These are the first three paragraphs.

A new rail line in Northumberland – including six new stations – is on track after getting ministers’ support.

The aim is to open the stations and upgrade track between Newcastle and Ashington by December 2023.

Following an inquiry, the government has granted a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) authorising the closure of level crossings and purchase of land.

Northumberland Council said it was a “key milestone”.

These two paragraphs describe the project.

Construction work on the line is due to start this summer.

It is planned to run a half-hourly passenger service along the 18-mile line, stopping at Bedlington, Blyth, Bebside, Newsham, Seaton Delaval and Northumberland Park Metro station.

We need more rail reopening like this to level-up the country.

June 29, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Green Light For Last Of Six New Stations For Northumberland Line

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Northumberland Gazette.

The title probably says it all and now final planning can be started, with construction due to start in the summer.

March 3, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | | 1 Comment

Alstom Hydrogen Aventras And The Reopened Northumberland Line

In Alstom And Eversholt Rail Sign An Agreement For The UK’s First Ever Brand-New Hydrogen Train Fleet, I give my thoughts on Alstom’s new hydrogen train, which I have called the Alstom Hydrogen Aventra.

Would this train be suitable for the Northumberland Line?

This is a caption to a picture in this article on the BBC, which is entitled Northumberland Line: Railway ‘Could Create Economic Powerhouse’.

The Northumberland Line could connect Blyth and Newcastle with half hourly services and journey times of under 25 minutes.

This timetable would mean that between two and four trains would be needed to provide the service.

In my posts on the Northumberland Line, I show a strong preference for battery-electric trains and in particular those proposed by Hitachi, which would be built in their factory at Newton Aycliffe, which is a dozen miles to the South. These trains would have batteries produced by Hyperdrive Innovation in Sunderland.

I dismissed hydrogen trains, as until this week no viable new hydrogen train for the UK rail network had been proposed.

But this week, Alstom announced their hydrogen-powered Aventra.

I suspect a small fleet of these trains could work the Northumberland Line.

My only reservation would be that their operating speed was in line with the speed needed on the short sections of the East Coast Main Line used by the Northumberland Line service.


November 14, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Northumberland Line: Railway ‘Could Create Economic Powerhouse’

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This is the first paragraph.

An “east coast economic powerhouse” stretching from Edinburgh to Leeds could be created if the Northumberland Line rail scheme goes ahead, a public inquiry has been told.

The article also explains why a public inquiry is needed.

The article also says that about thirty objections have been raised.

November 9, 2021 Posted by | Business, Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

Public Inquiry Into Northumberland Line Due To Open This Week

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the News Post Leader.

It is also a good summary of where the various councils are with the reopening of the Northumberland Line.

The article says that work should start next summer and trains will run in 2024.

November 9, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 4 Comments

Two More Stations For The Northumberland Line Are Approved

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Northumberland Post Leader.

  • Northumberland Park and Ashington stations have already been approved.
  • Bedlington and Seaton Delaval stations have just been approved.
  • That leaves Bebside and Newsham to be approved.

It could soon be all systems go for the builders.

November 4, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Planning Permission Granted For The First New Railway Station On The Northumberland Line

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on ITV.

This map from ITV shows the Northumberland Line.

Ashington station has been given planning permission.

Facilities include.

  • A hundred metre platform and all the gubbins. The platform length would accommodate a five-car train.
  • A 270 space car park with facilities for the disabled and electric cars.

It is due to open by 2024.

It looks like it’s just five new stations to go.

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 1 Comment

Level Crossing Trouble On The Northumberland Line

There is an article on Chronicle Live, which is entitled Exodus Fears Over Northumberland Line Underpass Plans For Ashington.

There is also this sub-heading.

Opponents of a planned underpass in Ashington as part of work on the Northumberland Line rail project are being urged to have their say.

So what are some people protesting about?

This page on the ABC Railway Guide is entitled Hospital Crossing Level Crossing and gives details of the level crossing, that Network Rail want to replace with an underpass.

  • The crossing is a public footpath crossing with whistleboards.
  • Individual and collective risk rating is high.
  • It is used by 110 pedestrians and cyclists per day.
  • There don’t seem to have been many recent incidents.

I know of a similar crossing in a similar town to Ashington, where there have been several deaths and suicides.

As the Northumberland Line is likely to have a half-hourly service, which will mean four trains per hour (tph) over the crossing, I doubt any Health and Safety professional would sign off the Northumberland Line without separation of the trains from pedestrians and cyclists.

Admittedly, the main complaint of the residents is noise and drunken pedestrians, but aren’t the latter most likely to be run over by a train.

There is also suggestions that the crossing be moved further to the North.

This Google Map shows the crossing.

Note how the crossing zig-zags across the railway.

This second Google Map shows a 3D visualisation from the East.

The proposed underpass would appear to connect Roseneath Court in the bottom-left and Darnley Road in the top-right.

  • It does appear that the current route goes behind houses on both sides of the railway.
  • I would suspect that underpasses could be built in line with both Roseneath Court and Darnley Road.
  • But either route would mean that the noisy and the drunks would walk further in a parallel direction to the railway and would create more disturbance.

This level crossing argument will run and run, as many do.

The Effect Of Battery-Electric Trains

I think it is likely that services on this line could be run by battery-electric trains.

These trains could be new trains from CAF, Hitachi or Vivarail or modern electrical multiple units, that have been upgraded with batteries.

  • They would be capable of 100 mph or more on the East Coast Main Line.
  • They would run on battery power at an appropriate speed of perhaps 80 mph  on the Northumberland Line, which is not planned to be electrified.
  • I suspect the passenger trains will cruise up and down the Northumberland Line faster than the current freigtht trains.
  • On battery power with no overhead wires, they will be very quiet trains.

Paradoxically, these new trains, although much better for passengers, could be more dangerous for the users of level crossings because of their faster speed and lower noise.


October 5, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Planning Permission Granted For The First New Railway Station On The Northumberland Line

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on ITV.

The station concerned is Ashington station.

One of the reasons, I wrote this post, is that the ITV article has a very good map of the railway being reopened.

These two paragraphs describe the station’s features.

The new platform will be approximately 100 metres long, with a range of facilities including waiting shelters, CCTV, help points and lighting.

Plans also include car park providing up to 270 spaces including 17 accessible spaces and 18 electric vehicle charging bays.

It also gives the reopening date of the railway as 2024, when the service will be a half-hourly one between Newcastle and Ashington stations that should take thirty-five minutes.

September 13, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

New Rail Service From Newcastle To Edinburgh To Stop At These Northumberland Stations

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Chronicle Live.

Details of the service are as follows.

  • It will be run by TransPennine Express.
  • It starts in December 2021.
  • It will run five times per day (tpd)
  • It will call at Cramlington, Morpeth, Widdrington, Alnmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Reston and Dunbar.

It is planned to run at least until May 2023.

These are my thoughts.

What Trains Will TransPennine Express Use?

The service will probably need a single train, if it was run by a dedicated fleet of trains, that just shuttled between Edinburgh and Newcastle. TransPennine could use either an electric  Class 802 train or a diesel Class 185 train.

The diesel train might not be a good idea for operational reasons as TransPennine’s current services to Newcastle and Edinburgh use Class 802 trains.

But this service wouldn’t need a Class 802 train, as the route is fully electrified, so TransPennine might use a Class 800 train, if one were available from another company in the First Group.

TransPennine could also extend selected Manchester Airport and Newcastle services to Edinburgh, which might be the most efficient ways of using both trains and platforms in Newcastle.

This would give those using the intermediate stations between Edinburgh and Newcastle a service to and from Manchester Airport and the intervening stations, with a change at Newcastle, which would involve staying on the same train.

I’d organise the service as five tpd between Manchester Airport and Edinburgh with calls at Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Victoria, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Leeds, York, Northallerton, Darlington, Durham, Chester-le-Street, Newcastle, Cramlington, Morpeth, Widdrington, Alnmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Reston and Dunbar.

The big advantage of this, is that TransPennine could use the existing Class 802 trains, although they may need one more.

Reston Station

It looks like it will be a much needed service, that will get the new Reston station up and running.

I suspect that,  passenger numbers at Reston station will determine the calling pattern after May 2023.

Will Other Services Continue?

TransPennine Express only has one service that stops between Newcastle and Edinburgh and that is the hourly service between Liverpool Lime Street and Edinburgh stations and that only stops at Morpeth.

I doubt this service will be changed, although after May 2023, it may make some extra stops depending on passenger numbers on the new service.

It should be noted that CrossCountry and LNER call irregularly at Alnmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Dunbar.

As LNER are in rather a mess over their new timetable, I suspect that after May 2023, there could be a bit of a sort out of services.

How Will The New Service Fit With The Reopened Northumberland Line?

Initially the Northumberland Line will run as far as Ashington and won’t open until 2023 at the earliest.

But plans exist to extend the Northumberland Line to Morpeth.

The new service would fit well with an extended Northumberland Line service.

How Will The New Service Fit With East Coast Trains New London And Edinburgh Service?

East Coast Trains will be running a new Open Access service between London and Edinburgh from this autumn.

  • It will have a frequency of 5 tpd.
  • It will stop at Newcastle, Morpeth and Stevenage.
  • It will offer one way fares of £25.

East Coast Trains are another First Group company.

As both services are five tpd in both directions, will the two services co-ordinate stops, so that passengers between say London and Reston can take advantage?

Going North, the stopping train could follow the East Coast Trains express and going South the stopping train would be a few minutes in front of the express.

This would also help with maximising capacity between Edinburgh and Newcastle on the busy East Coast Main Line.


This new stopping service between Edinburgh and Newcastle looks to be a simple solution to improve passenger services for intermediate stations between the two important cities.


September 3, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments