The Anonymous Widower

Schoolchildren Get First Glimpse Of Northumberland Line Train Services

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


The title does say it all, but what a good idea to give the kids a ride first to build up enthusiasm for the new Northumberland Line.

July 22, 2022 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

A Good Sign In Morpeth

I have various Google Alerts setup and one found this story from Morpeth in Northumberland.

Let’s hope it works and improves footfall to the shops.

As I found on my trip around all 92 League clubs, in many places signs are non-existent or downright useless. Many seem to have been designed by those, who have no idea what a visitor wants to do.

December 19, 2011 Posted by | News | , , | 1 Comment

Manor House Inn, Carterway Heads

The other great advantage of the A68 is that it is not a main road and inhabited by crap, boring service areas.  There are good pubs everywhere.

I was driving the road around lunchtime and a sign informed me a pub called the Manor House Inn, was coming up.  The sign said good food and real ales and as many coeliacs and other allergy sufferers will tell you, real ale pubs are often sympathetic to special diets.

I entered and looked at the special menu on the wall.

Specials Menu, Manor House Inn

I liked the look of the seared venison.  I asked the landlord, Neil Oxley, whether it was gluten-free and he said he’d ask the chef.  The reply was that the chef would make it so.  The pub also had some proper, Weston’s cider.  Not as good as my local Aspall, but very safe for coeliacs.

It was one of the best pub lunches I’d had outside of places I know very well in a long time.  A lot of coeliacs like their vegetables and I had a choice of five; potatoes, carrots, swede, cabbage and broccoli.  All were excellent, as was the venison.

I asked the landlord’s wife, Emma, if everything was local and she said yes.

This is what good pub food should be about.  I shall go back again, the next time I’m in the area.

The pub is also a good excuse to burn up the A68.  I might even stay there, as the pub has rooms for the night.

Manor House Inn, Carterway Heads

January 26, 2010 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , | 3 Comments

Left and Right, Up and Down

Of all the roads in England, few are as notorious for a good burn-up as the A68, that runs from the Scottish Border to Darlington.  It’s up and over a blind summit, then fast left, fast right or possibly both.  In places you can see the road stretching several kilometres in the distance.

Yesterday, as I returned from Scotland, the road was pretty empty except for a couple of wagons and a few cars, so it was great fun.  And safe too, as if you drive the road properly in good visibility and fairly dry conditions, you have no problems unless you take some of the blind summits too fast.

As I said in the related post on Taking the High Road, it’s the sort of road for which Elans were built!

I have rather an affection for the A68 as several times I drove it on the way to see the first Metier customer, Ferranti, in Edinburgh.  In those days though, it wasn’t in an Elan.  But there weren’t any speed cameras!

January 26, 2010 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 3 Comments

Taking the High Road

I got up early on Sunday morning and by half-past-seven, I was on the road to see an old friend near Peebles in the Scottish Borders.

First stop was Wetherby Services on the A1(M), just north of York and Leeds.  So the petrol was it’s usual expensive price, but the service area seemed better than most.  Perhaps it was just a mirage as service areas in the UK, tend to be very poor, tired, of bad design and serving the same crap food.  At least Wetherby had a Marks and Spencer, so if I had wanted to buy some decent food, then I could have done. 

I should say here, that I never stop unless I absolutely have to in a motorway service area, that does not have either an M&S or a Waitrose.

I took the A1 or A1(M) all the way to Newcastle and past the Angel of the North before taking the A696 through Ponteland and towards Scotland.  Things must be getting more civilised up in the North East, as I noticed that Ponteland has a Waitrose, which until a few years ago was restricted very much to the South.

The A696 and A68 route from Newcastle to Edinburgh is one of those roads that needs driving.  It also needs a nimble car with lots of acceleration.  In other words it’s a road fit for a Lotus.

I didn’t hang about on a road that was almost free of traffic with snow to both sides and a good bit of mist.  But the smooth trip to Peebles was interrupted by bridge works at Jedburgh, which meant that I had to take a detour via Hawick and Selkirk.

The latter did slow the Lotus, but I still arrived in time for lunch in Peebles.

January 25, 2010 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment