Durham County Council urges government to reopen rail connection
Proposals to reopen a rail connection from Consett to Newcastle have been submitted to the government by a North East council.
Durham County Council has submitted a Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) to the Department for Transport to re-establish a passenger rail connection between the two locations.
In 2020, the government established a £500m fund to restore railways and reconnect communities. As part of this, it confirmed that additional funding was available to explore the feasibility of 15 transport proposals which aim to restore local rail services.
Durham County Council submitted an Expression of Interest to explore the feasibility of restoring the rail service in Consett as part of its broader commitment to improving public transport connectivity across the county. In November 2020, it was awarded funding to further develop proposals.
This week, the council submitted the case, with the endorsement of Richard Holden, MP for North West Durham, for the restoration of passenger rail services.
The business case states that establishing a new railway line between Consett and Newcastle would enhance access to opportunities within the wider North East area, reduce the environmental impacts of existing road traffic and improve air quality.
Cllr Richard Bell, the council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for finance, said: “Plans to reopen a railway service in Consett are in their infancy and very much at an explorative stage, but findings from our initial research are very positive.
“If successfully implemented, the scheme would lead to major improvements in connectivity between Consett and the wider North East region, opening up the area for residents, businesses and visitors.
“Projections show that up to three million annual trips could be achieved, from a potential station at Consett and other stations along the Annfield Plain and Stanley corridor.
Cllr Bell concluded: “A new line would act as a catalyst in accelerating investment in the local area, contributing to a reduction in levels of deprivation by offering better access to higher value jobs and promoting the area as a fantastic place to live and work.”
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