Newcastle Cramlington Morpeth Local Service

Northern Train at Cramlington. Geoff Stanthorpe

What Is Proposed?

The local service from Morpeth to Newcastle and MetroCentre runs hourly on weekdays. Thanks to SENRUG lobbying over the years, there is also now an evening service, and a limited Sunday service, and most trains now continue on to, and start back from, Carlisle.

Whilst Morpeth now has a good choice of alternative intercity services to Newcastle, Cramlington still only has an hourly service (2-hourly daytime only on Sunday) and the first morning train from Cramlington to Newcastle is not until 08:09 - arriving in Newcastle at 08:22 - too late for many commuters.

SENRUG therefore wants the service frequency at Cramlington to be doubled to 2 trains per hour (hourly on Sundays from 08:00 to 23:00) and for there to be earlier morning trains to Newcastle.

Why?

Cramlington currently has a population of 35,000, making it Northumberland’s largest town with a rail station, and with significant further population growth to 45,000 planned, it will soon overtake Blyth and become Northumberland’s largest town overall. It has over 100,000 people living within a 15-minute drive of the station. It is Northumberland’s only town with an indoor shopping centre and has a number of industrial estates round its outskirts supporting a range of industries including chemicals, light engineering and renewables.

Its poor train service provision is something of a historic anomaly which must now be addressed. Cramlington has the misfortune to sit on the East Coast Main Line, where rail planners have long prioritised long-distance services that pass through the station without stopping, rather than the needs of the local economy. This approach needs to be challenged.

The following table is an example of the service pattern anomalies faced by Cramlington:

Cramlington  
Hexham  
  Population
35,000  
13,000  
  Trains per hour to Newcastle (weekdays)
1  
3  
  Earliest morning arrival into Newcastle (weekdays)
08:22  
06:52  
  Latest departure from Newcastle (weekdays)
22:37  
22:53  
  Sunday service frequency
Every 2 hours  
Hourly  


How?

Doubling the service frequency at Cramlington could be achieved through one of two ways. Either the existing Transpennine Express services (on the Edinburgh - Liverpool route) could call additionally at Cramlington, or a 2nd local service could run between Morpeth and Newcastle. SENRUG would be willing to accept either solution.

Whilst TPE services calling at Cramlington would additionally give the station new direct journey opportunities to Edinburgh, Durham, York, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool, there would be the risk that, as different operators change their timetables, the 2 services may not be evenly spaced and might not therefore provide Cramlington with a regular service approximately every 30 minutes. Additionally, TPE services are most unlikely to call at Manors, the preferred destination for many commuters.

Combining the requirement to provide a better local service at Cramlington with the objectives to provide a North of Morpeth Local Service and additionally to have a passenger rail service between Morpeth - Choppington and Bedlington (once the core route of the Ashington Blyth & Tyne Line has re-opened), SENRUG believes there should be 2 local services per hour between Morpeth and Newcastle, as follows:

1) Bedlington* - Choppington* - Morpeth - Cramlington - Manors - Newcastle - MetroCentre and on to Carlisle.

2) Berwick - Beal* - Belford* - Warkworth* - Chathill - Alnmouth - Acklington - Widdrington - Pegswood - Morpeth - Cramlington - Manors - Newcastle. [This service could be provided using electric trains]
* proposed new or re-opened station

Additionally, until other arrangements to provide earlier morning services at Cramlington are in place, SENRUG believes that as an exception to the normal calling pattern, the 05:14 and 06:27 TPE Monday to Saturday services from Edinburgh to Liverpool should call additionally at Cramlington (approximate times 06:51 and 07:52) catering for the needs of Cramlington commuters who need to travel before the 08:09 departure.


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