Depressing Call

A depressing call today with Northern, as they announced a further round of cut-backs to their services. Of course, they are in no way to blame. With the government both banning non-essential travel and funding the network, no other realistic course of action was available, and the news was pretty much expected. There are however some silver linings to this dark cloud: Firstly, here on the Cramlington / Morpeth line, services had already been cut back drastically so will simply remain at their current levels: hourly during peaks then two-hourly off-peak (plus some long distance trains at Morpeth). Secondly the government has asked Northern, and we presume all operators, to stand ready to ramp back up again quickly, and something of a “bounce” in leisure travel is expected once regulations are eased. SENRUG, along with other Rail User Groups and CRPs across the network, stands ready to work with Northern in re-promoting rail travel , particularly leisure, once we are able to do so. To this end we are asking Northern again to ensure local services on the Cramlington / Morpeth line are included in the Explorer North East, Tyne Valley Day Ranger and North East Round Robin leisure tickets – a longstanding SENRUG request that has fallen on deaf ears up till now. Finally, once again we’d like to thank rail industry staff both operational crews and management for their efforts in keeping the network going during this very difficult time.

2 thoughts on “Depressing Call”

  1. If the Northumberland line services finally come about, do they necessarily have to terminate at Newcastle? Could trains continue on to Hexham for example and form a direct rail link between South Northumberland and the Tyne Valley as well as the Metro Centre?

    1. Good point Iain. No they don’t have to terminate at Newcastle and I hope they won’t. The way I see it, Northern (if indeed it is them who are asked to run the service) will have 4 lines (or routes) radiating out from Newcastle. I expect them to join them up, eg Ashington – Sunderland and Morpeth – Hexham etc, but we leave the operational decision as to what joins to what down to them. It’s also important to keep this re-opening plan simple and containable, the more we add, the more costs go up, and the more excuse some people would have found to throw the whole thing out. so we start simple with a Newcastle – Ashington proposal, which means we don’t at this stage have to take into account availability of paths over the King Edward Bridge, conflict with main line services coming in to Newcastle from the south etc, all of which would need to be looked at if going beyond Newcastle was being factored in at this point. Dennis, Chair of SENRUG.

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