What Is Proposed?
Manors station should be redeveloped to ensure it has the capacity for all the local services running through it to stop at the station. This includes 2 trains per hour on the Northumberland Line (Ashington Blyth & Tyne Line), the proposed new Newcastle – Berwick local service and the existing Carlisle – Morpeth service. An easy interchange with the adjacent Metro station should be provided, along with level access from street to platforms and to the adjacent Manors Multi Storey Car Park. The high level walkways from the car park to the city centre should be upgraded with level access provided at the city centre end. Finally, the train running capacity through Manors station should be increased to 4 tracks, part of a longer term plan to quad track all the way from Newcastle to Benton Junction, as a means of increasing capacity and alleviating pinch points on the East Coast Main Line, ensuring it has capacity for both long distance and local services.
Manors National Rail station is sad and neglected. And yet the area around it has been significantly developed. Northumbria University’s campus is right next door, as is a plethora of student accommodation. The station is also close to a number of call centres, being significant centres of employment, and provides better access to the quayside and Millennium Bridge than Newcastle.
The interchange facility with Metro is totally underdeveloped, even though it provides better access to Wallsend, Tynemouth and The Coast. Passengers using Newcastle to change onto this Metro route need to change again at Monument.
The street scape around Manors station is also an eyesore, adding to the general feeling of neglect. Linking the station to the adjacent Multi Storey Car Park, and on to the high level walkways from the car park to John Dobson Street would connect Manors station to Newcastle’s theatres and the main shopping area. The waste railway ground could be developed into an outdoor plaza and street café serving not just railway passengers but workers in adjacent offices and the student community.
A 4th running track through Manors station would form part of a bigger project to quad track the East Coast Main Line route between Newcastle and Benton Junction, which combined with the re-opening of the Ashington Blyth & Tyne line (The Northumberland Line), double tracking of Northumberland Park to Newsham as part of the Airport to Blyth Town Centre link, and the proposed Ashington – Butterwell – Alnmouth link, would create a quad track railway all the way from Newcastle to Butterwell Junction (except for the short section west of Northumberland Park).
The existing island platform should be reduced in width to create space for a 4th running track and 2nd (slightly offset) island platform to be created. Both platforms should have level access to a new footbridge, which should be extended west to the 4th floor level of the Manors Multi-Storey Car Park, and north to the Metro Ticket Hall.
The high level walkways from the 4th floor of the Manors Multi Storey Car Park into the city centre should be improved to provide a seamless connection with the railway station, and level access provided at the city centre end.
Realising this project requires co-operation between a number of different bodies including Network Rail, Northern, Nexus and Newcastle City Council. SENRUG suggests a working group be set up between these stakeholders including SENRUG as a user representative and possibly Northumbria University as well. It is possible some of the street scape design might even be undertaken by university students of the appropriate discipline as part of their studies.