What Is Proposed?
SENRUG proposes a new station on both the East Coast Main Line heavy rail route and Metro lines where the two systems cross, at East Benton. It is not suggested that there should be a physical interconnection between the two systems at this point.
The proposals for an Airport – Northumberland Park - Blyth Town Centre Metro route, and an Airport - Northumberland Park - Cobalt Link route means there would be a frequent Metro service between this new station direct to the airport.
If local and semi-fast trains on the East Coast Main Line (eg the Carlisle – Morpeth service, the proposed Newcastle – Berwick local service, and the re-instated Liverpool – Edinburgh service also served this station, passengers from a wide variety of destinations in central and north Northumberland would be able to reach the airport much quicker, and without having to go to Newcastle then travel back out. Likewise, passengers from south and west of Newcastle from locations such as Chester-le-Street, Durham, Prudhoe and Hexham would have a faster route to the airport by changing at Benton East instead of the slow, 45 minute Metro link from Central Newcastle.
SENRUG believes this proposal to be far more cost effective and beneficial than a new direct heavy rail route from Newcastle to airport, as has been mooted elsewhere, which would presumably utilize paths on the East Coast Main Line, compromising the ability to develop over local and regional services along the route such as the Newcastle – Berwick local service
New platforms either side of the existing tracks need to be created on both the heavy rail and Metro lines, within land which is already owned by the rail industry. The four platforms need to be connected to each other and the adjacent public highway by lifts, creating level access throughout. It is recognised that on the East Coast Main line there would need to be a r-alignment of signals to avoid there being a signal mid-way along the position of the new platform.