Councillor calls for former railway line to be brought back into use

Councillor Niall Hodson of the Liberal Democrats.
Councillor Niall Hodson of the Liberal Democrats.

A Wearside councillor is calling for a former railway line to be re-opened.

The Department for Transport has today announced a ‘Strategic Vision for Rail’ plan, which sets out "a vision for our railways, including a new way of operating train and track and changes to the franchising system".

As part of the plan, it is proposed to "explore opportunities to restore capacity lost under the Beeching and British Rail cuts" by identifying "new schemes that unlock new housing or economic growth and offer good value for money.

The Government has said it is already planning to re-open the railway line from Oxford to Cambridge and our new development programme will identify new connections and lines that were closed to passengers by British Rail, as part of finding and funding future rail schemes which offer good value.

Liberal Democrats in Wearside are now calling on the Department for Transport to look into reopening the Leamside Line, which runs through Washington, as part of the plans.

Coun Niall Hodson, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Sunderland City Council, said: “It’s about time that Washington and Western Sunderland were properly integrated into the North East’s public transport network.

"The possibility of reopening the Leamside Line has been on the table for some time, and it ought to be looked at seriously.

"The line connects up with the existing Metro network, and would improve the public transport infrasctructure in the Washington area immeasurably – Washington is currently completely cut off from the Metro system, and indeed the Metro serves barely anywhere in Wearside compared to Tyneside.

“If the Government is talking about reopening lines closed in the Beeching cuts, it needs to take a look at reopening the Leamside Line as a priority."