A Five Billion Pound National Disgrace

Having watched the progressive degradation of Government policy on planning and transport in England over the past 15 years, I thought I was beyond being shocked. But a quick analysis of the Government announcement on its five billion quid Housing Infrastructure Fund left me speechless. Well, almost...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 04 February 2018

Transformational Dreams

Thanks to a quirky coincidence, I was in a small town in the north of England when Transport for the North launched its Strategic Transport Plan, setting out its aspirations for what it grandly called transformational growth over the next third of a century. Well, quite a lot of the north is in need...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 21 January 2018

An Egregious Future

Few elephants live in this country and most of those that do live in zoos. So conservation of them is unlikely to figure in any 25-year environment strategy, which is a pity, as the Plan published by the Government yesterday must have had two very large pachyderms roaming silently around the launch ...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 12 January 2018

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Metro expansion for North East proposed

Added on 29 July 2016

The North East Combined Authority has published plans for significant expansion of local rail passenger services in the region over the next 20 years.

The plans envisage replacement of rolling stock on the Tyne & Wear Metro and the obsolete mainline Pacer trains.

They also propose a limited expansion of services including reopening of a few routes like the mothballed Leamside Line.

“We are building a business case for major investment in Metro and local rail to improve journeys for passengers and provide cleaner, greener and attractive travel choices,” said lead member for transport Nick Forbes.

Central to the proposal is a take-over of parts of the infrastructure from Network Rail and integrated Metro and mainline services.

The Metro is part-way through a major refurbishment including station improvements, track renewal and infrastructure replacement. New trains are part of the latest plans.

The plans for new services are cautious and recognise major funding would be needed, as well as agreement with existing rail operators.

Plans to expand the Metro include new services to Newcastle Airport. The disused Leamside Line would see the previously proposed Newcastle-Sunderland via Washington loop, a new link to the east of the city of Durham and Ferryhill and potential reuse for high-speed inter-city services.

The long-cherished ambition of a Metro service to Blyth and Ashington is also included, as are a number of other smaller extensions and heavy rail improvements.

Large parts of the North East would see little benefit, however. These include the populous parts of western and southern County Durham and Teesside and other possible opportunities in north-east and east Durham on rail alignments have been ignored.

Earlier proposals such as the Derwent Valley line to Consett have not been included.

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