Northeast transport strategy 2035 plan

UK: Further devolution of powers to manage rail services, better transport integration and long-term funding streams are at the core of the North East Rail & Metro Strategy, which sets out the North of Tyne and North East combined authorities’ ambitions for rail and Tyne & Wear Metro services in 2035.

The main plans include:

  • increasing the capacity and resilience of the East Coast Main Line and Durham Coast Line to improve connectivity for passengers and freight;
  • extending the reach of local rail and the Tyne & Wear Metro by upgrading existing networks and services and adding new routes, including reopening the Leamside and Northumberland lines;
  • working with Great British Railways to seek greater influence over local rail services ‘to match the flexibility and accountability of Metro’;
  • maintaining and updating Metro assets, including resignalling and introducing the new fleet being supplied by Stadler;
  • integrating rail, Metro and bus fares and ticketing;
  • introducing electric, battery or hydrogen trains on local rail services;
  • encouraging modal shift of freight from road to rail;
  • improvements to stations including Sunderland and Newcastle Central
  • development of new stations, with possible locations including Gateshead East, Murton Gap, Belford, Ferryhill, and potentially Sedgefield.

The northeast ‘is in need of major investment to improve our rail network and ensure that our region has the capacity and infrastructure we need for generations to come’, said Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee. He said the ongoing fleet renewal and capacity expansion projects would ‘be truly transformational’ for the Metro, ‘but we want to do more to revitalise our entire rail network.’

Public comments on the proposals are invited by April 11.