SENRUG, the group that campaigns for better rail services in south and east Northumberland - has secured funding for a feasibility study into a local rail service between Morpeth and Berwick.
The group wants to see the existing Newcastle to Morpeth service extended on to Berwick, with an hourly service each way calling at Pegswood, Widdrington, Acklington, Almouth and Chathill, plus the eventual re-opening of the former stations at Belford and Beal, and possibly elsewhere.
The first step is to establish whether there is enough space on the line for local trains to run, and if not, what would need to be done to make the service possible. The study will also include a high-level market appraisal plus outline indicative costs for the proposed new stations.
Funding for the study is being provided jointly by Northern Railway and Northumberland County Council, with a small contribution from SENRUG. Northern’s award came from their Seed Corn Fund which is available for station adopters and community rail partnerships wishing to pursue ideas for improvements at stations or on routes in their locality, and followed a strong application from SENRUG, which was then matched by the local authority.
The group’s counterparts north of the border - RAGES (Rail Action Group East Scotland) - are inching closer to achieving a similar local rail service between Edinburgh and Berwick, with the re-opening of Reston and East Linton stations.