For some weeks now, SENRUG has been concerned that the government, perhaps unintentionally, has been pushing the “don’t use the railway” message too hard. How can it be safe to fly to Spain or Greece, but not to take a train to Devon or Cornwall? We are grateful to both The Morpeth Herald and the News Post Leader for featuring our 12th June 2020 Press Release on the subject, which you can see here. Particular thanks to The Morpeth Herald for putting this story on their front page on 25th June. So I was delighted to hear the Prime Minister announce today in the Corona Virus Daily Briefing that the railway is now open again for all passengers. Other organisations, perhaps with louder voices than SENRUG, picked up on our concern (though I think SENRUG was the first to raise the alarm). But it is good to know we have made a difference, and government policy has now changed in response to concerns expressed by SENRUG and others.
Also of good cheer were the press reports of the North East Joint Transport Committee held earlier this week (by video connection). Northumberland Council Leader Cllr Peter Jackson is reported as saying work on the Ashington Blyth & Tyne re-opening (which the Council now refer to as the Northumberland Line) could start “in a matter of months”. Excellent news. Of course, the funding package has still not been finally announced by the government. But with the scheme constantly being talked up in this way, it is difficult to contemplate that the final opening announcement will not follow shortly. Perhaps our 15 years of campaigning to date will soon be rewarded. See The Northumberland Gazette article here.