Cramlington on the right track for improved railway service.
September 7, 2021
Cramlington Town Councillors have welcomed the news that residents will be able to benefit from improved rail services to the town.
Transpennine Express has announced that, from December this year, it will begin a new service between Newcastle and Edinburgh calling at a number of key stations in Northumberland.
The service is planned to operate five times each weekday in each direction, calling (in most cases) at Newcastle, Cramlington, Morpeth, Widdrington, Alnmouth and Berwick-Upon-Tweed.
Cramlington Town Councillor Barry Flux from the West Ward that contains Cramlington Railway Station said: “I am delighted that more services are coming to Cramlington. As a growing town it is very important that we see more rail services. We will continue to campaign for further provisions at our station.”
Fellow West Ward councillor Pat Heard also welcomed the announcement saying “All of Cramlington’s town councillors have been campaigning for improvements to the service, the station and the infrastructure. This is great news, and it’s just the start.”
TransPennine Express have said that calls at Widdrington and Cramlington are subject to completion of industry procedures for operational and safety requirements, meaning these calls might be introduced after the start of the December 2021 timetable.
Dennis Fancett, Chair of SENRUG (South East Northumberland Rail User Group) said the technical issue which may cause this delayed start at Cramlington and Widdrington is likely to be trains longer than the platforms and safety cases needing to be passed for selective door opening.
However he welcomed news of the development saying “It is an excellent intiative representing a useful compromise / stepping stone between what we have today and where we aspire to be. Most importantly, it can be implemented quickly, from this December, and creates a degree of inter-Northumberland connectivity between Morpeth, Alnmouth & Berwick, as well as improving service at Cramlington, and providing a limited daytime service at Widdrington.
Announcing the additional services Graham Meiklejohn, Head of Regional Development at TransPennine Express said “We are delighted to be able to provide these services to Transport Scotland, Rail North Partnership and the customers from the communities on this route who will experience new and enhanced connectivity as a result. We will continue to work with customers, communities, stakeholders and industry partners to consider any further service options available for this route.
Tickets for these services will be on sale by 17 September 2021 and we look forward to welcoming the first customers on board at the December 2021 timetable change.
Cllr Glen Sanderson, Leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “I’m delighted by this announcement. Northumberland County Council has been campaigning for better rail services for communities located along the East Coast Main Line, and our work has yielded results. This new service will greatly improve peoples’ ability to use the train to get to work, education and leisure opportunities. Taken together with the project we are leading to bring rail services back to the Northumberland Line, rail connectivity in Northumberland will be transformed.”
This announcement comes shortly after confirmation from LNER that the rail industry plans to introduce a controversial new timetable on the East Coast Main Line in May 2022 have been deferred.
Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “This is excellent news and shows how our region can improve transport links when we work together. Not only have we seen off the disastrous plans to decimate our rail service on the East Coast Main Line – for now at least – but it is now confirmed that we are going to see an exciting new service introduced that provides even better links between Northumberland, Newcastle and Scotland. We will continue to make the case for the government to invest in the East Coast Main Line in our region so that there is enough capacity for all of the services that need to use it, now and in the future, providing further appealing, sustainable transport options for people in the North East – a key objective of the North East Transport Plan.”
Pictured: Cramlington Railway Station, Councillor Pat Heard and Councillor Barry Flux.