Re-open Leamside Line
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Sharon Hodgson MP calls for the Leamside Railway Line to be re-opened, to bring back a rail link to Washington.
Washington is the largest town in England without a rail link, despite its growing population of around 70,000 people. Throughout the twentieth century and before, Washington and its industry had been served by the Leamside Line, connecting Pelaw to Durham.
Usworth and Washington Stations (situated near Columbia and what is now Teal Farm) closed to passengers in 1963, and a similar fate occurred for Penshaw Station one year later, because of the Beeching cuts. Leamside was used for a short while during the late seventies as a diversion for the East Coast Main Line due to electrification of the line between Newcastle and Darlington. However, by the turn of the millenium, the line had been mothballed entirely, and its over 150 year-long history, came to an end.
However, the land that the Line once travelled still belongs to National Rail, and the beautiful Victoria Viaduct still stands strong over the Wear some 185 years after construction began. That has led to numerous calls for the line to be reopened across the last two decades. The opportunity is now here.
There is a wide recognition that East Coast Main Line linking Edinburgh to London, needs upgrading, and that an increased capacity between Northallerton and Newcastle is necessary for this. The effective solution being pushed by many transport organisations, MPs, and community groups across the North East is to re-open the Leamside Line. The railway line could take freight and local rail services if it were successfully reopened, for example the Metro as part of the proposed ‘Wearside Loop’.
If the Leamside Line reopens, we will then see the opportunity for local rail to come back to Washington.
The economic and connectivity benefits for the area would be remarkable. The ability to hop on a train or a Metro to Sunderland, Shields, Newcastle or Gateshead will change the lives of so many residents across this part of Tyne and Wear.
However, this opportunity is under threat. The Government is considering a cheaper ‘Leamside South’ option, which would allow the East Coast Main line to bypass Durham, but it wouldn’t reach Washington.
We want to see the re-opening of the Leamside Line in full, as part of the up-coming Integrated Rail Plan, for investment to begin in 2024. This petition calls on the Government to do that.