A BUSINESSMAN is calling for a railway stop to be reopened to help get a community’s future back on track.
Tony Mann has launched a campaign to reinstate the halt at Easington Colliery to help the high level of unemployed people in the area each jobs across the region.
The managing director of letting agent and property developer Westnew Management has sent letters to government departments and Durham County Council, but claims his calls have fallen on deaf ears.
The council has announced plans to set up a new station for East Durham, but has pinpointed Horden as a better location for the stop.
However, Mr Mann said: “Enough is enough. We have to act now as unemployment in County Durham, especially Easington Colliery is spiralling out of control and the only things on the increase are reported cases of crime and drug abuse.
“The region is continuing to go downhill.”
He believes the cost of setting up a colliery stop could be up to £2million, but says it would lead to a drop in benefits as people find jobs.
He said residents in Easington Colliery would have to pay a further bus fare to travel the two-mile journey to catch a train from Horden.
He added: “It all makes perfect common sense by opening up an area like Easington Colliery, which desperately needs to enable people to travel to work.
“The long-term unemployed residents of Easington Colliery will have no excuse for getting to work anywhere in the region – as they’d be no more than half an hour’s train journey away from all the major cities in the area.”
Andy Leadbeater, the council’s passenger transport manager, said: “We have been investigating the possibility of a creating a rail stop in East Durham for some time.
“However, our investigations have shown that a rail halt would not be a workable solution due to disability access issues.
“We are, therefore looking into the feasibility of a establishing a station, which would be at a substantially higher cost.
“We have looked at a range of factors, including potential passenger numbers, land ownership, vehicle and pedestrian access and links to public transport, and have found that the most viable location would be a site to the south of Sea View Industrial Estate, near Horden.
“Network Rail and Northern Rail are both fully supportive of this proposal and we are now in the process of discussing the plans with the Department for Transport.
“Further research into potential demand is also about to take place.”
He added that more than one new stop would not be viable and add to journey times.