What Is Proposed?
In addition to the Blyth Town Centre - Airport route, a second Metro route from Airport to Northumberland Park should be created, but this route should turn south at Northumberland Park, following a former alignment of a Blyth and Tyne branch, to serve new stations at Cobalt and Silverlink, re-joining the southern section of the Metro Coast route just west of Percy Main, then continuing into Tynemouth where there is pace to re-instate a bay platform for terminating trains.
Cobalt and Silverlink are major employment centres and proving metro access to these areas would help regenerate significant areas of South East Northumberland and North Tyneside by providing access to job opportunities.
The new route would utilize the same link through the Metro depot between Regent Centre and Longbenton as would the Airport - Blyth Town Centre Link. From just east of Northumberland Park, the route would turn south onto the former rail alignment which remains in-tact and is not overbuilt.
There are different options as to what the route should do from the point where it reaches the southern section of the Metro coast route just west of Percy Main. It could either turn east and terminate at North Shields or Tynemouth (both stations have capacity for re-instatement of a bay platform and reversing siding) or it could turn west and run back to St James, providing a direct link to Silverlink and Cobalt from City Centre stations such as Monument. This last option has been raised by the North East Rail & Metro Strategy consultation and SENRUG would support this proposal.
SENRUG does not suggest connecting its proposed Blyth Town Centre to Northumberland Park metro route to the new Cobalt and Silverlink section, as such a route could not easily serve Northumberland Park itself, which is a key rail / metro and bus interchange.