Public inquiry opens on the Northumberland Line connecting Newcastle and Ashington

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The arguments for and against the Northumberland Line rail project are to be heard in a public inquiry.

A government-appointed inspector is expected to spend the remainder of November hearing testimony about the proposed Newcastle-Ashington link.

And it is hoped that when completed, it will pave the way for passenger services to start operating on the road for the first time since 1964.

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The series of hearings, which are scheduled to be held at the Blyth Civic Center from Tuesday, November 9, will be held to rule on a Transportation and Works Act (TWAO) ordinance needed to authorize track work.

Earlier this year, the Department for Transport allocated £ 34million to restart regular commuter services on what was once the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne line.

Over the next four weeks, families, county councilors and businesses in Northumberland will have the opportunity to have their say about the investigation.

Groupe Bernicia, a housing provider; Northumberland Estates, which manages the interests of the Duke of Northumberland; Viscount Ridley, former chairman of the failing Northern Rock bank, and Malhotra Commercial Properties, which controls a large portfolio of land in the northeast, are all listed to testify.

The process is currently scheduled to end on Thursday, December 2, with several days set aside for site visits or suspensions of proceedings.

Planning permission has already been granted for new stations serving the line, which was closed to everything except freight traffic in the Beeching Cuts of the 1960s.

Northumberland County Council has approved plans for stops at Ashington, Bedlington and Seaton Delaval.

Proposals for Blyth and Newsham are expected to be decided later this year.

North Tyneside Council has given the green light to changes to Northumberland Park station on the Tyne and Wear tube, which will allow travelers to switch between the two services.

It is hoped that construction will begin in earnest in the summer of 2022, with services expected to start operating in 2024.

See www.northumberland.gov.uk/line for more information on the line and the public inquiry.

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