UK: Transport North East has published the first stage of a business case for the proposed Washington Metro Loop extension of the Tyne & Wear Metro.
The loop would start from the existing Pelaw station and make use of the disused railway alignment of the former Leamside Line, serving new stations at Follingsby, Washington North and Washington South. It would then turn east to reach South Hylton, the current terminus of the Metro branch from Sunderland.
The cost of completing the 13·5 km loop is estimated at £745m, including the additional trainsets which would be required.
Predictions suggest that the line would generate more than £90m per year in economic benefits to the region, leading to nearly 8 million additional passenger journeys a year. Replacing almost 1·7 million car journeys would reduce carbon emissions by nearly 87 000 tonnes a year.
The business case has been part-funded by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and Transport North East, building on previous engineering feasibility and demand forecasting work.
‘Washington is the fourth largest town in the UK not to be connected to a rail network’, said Washington & Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson. ‘The people of Washington and Sunderland deserve access to high quality transport to aid economic growth and job prosperity, not only within Washington but also across the region. The new Washington Metro Loop will do just that, and I am delighted that we are one step closer to re-opening the Leamside Line in full.’