A campaign calling for the introduction of a local rail service offering an hourly service from Berwick to Morpeth has been launched.
Dubbed the ‘North Sea Coast’ route, the South East Northumberland Rail User Group (SENRUG) wants the existing Metrocentre to Morpeth rail link extended north to Berwick, with Belford and Beal stations re-opened en route.
It is working with sister campaign group Rail Action Group East of Scotland (RAGES), whose campaign for a similar service from Berwick to Edinburgh is well advanced. They believe the new passenger routes could create a local rail service between Newcastle and Edinburgh, calling at all stations including Reston and East Linton.
Some inter-city services run non-stop between Newcastle and Edinburgh, but SENRUG believes a local service for the smaller stations is also needed.
Chairman Dennis Fancett said: “A through service such as this would create access to jobs and universities at either Newcastle or Edinburgh and boost the economies of the smaller towns and villages.”
The service would follow the Northumberland and Scottish coast paths for much of its route, connecting with St Cuthbert’s Way, St Oswald’s Way, The John Muir Way and The Southern Upland Way, and campaigners expect it to result in a major boost for tourism in Northumberland and southern Scotland.
Mr Fancett added: “The new service would only need a few extra passing loops to enable non-stop and limited stop trains to overtake them.
“Grants are available towards the cost of re-opening the stations and we are pressing Northumberland County Council to commission a study to confirm the feasibility of the scheme. In Scotland, this work has already been done.”