AN MP has urged the Government to speed up any plans to extend the Metro system to Washington.
Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson has been pushing for an extension to the line to Washington, which would include using the disused Leamside railway line.
For too long the North East has been overlooked when it comes to transport, and we deserve good rail networks just as much as anywhere else in the country.Sharon Hodgson MP
It is the fourth petition Mrs Hodgson has tabled in the House of Commons since 2012, with thousands of signatures backing the proposal.
Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, said the North East Combined Authority (NECA) has been invited to present a business case for future investment, including a new fleet of trains as well as a potential extension from Pelaw to South Hylton, via Washington, with the potential to carry up to four million passengers by 2030. While encouraged by the response, Mrs Hodgson also said she was “slightly disappointed” by the timescale, hoping the plan would become reality earlier than 2030.
“I am very pleased to see the pressure pay off and the Government respond to the calls from local people in our area that want to see the Metro extended to Washington,” she said.
“For too long the North East has been overlooked when it comes to transport, and we deserve good rail networks just as much as anywhere else in the country.
“I am pleased to see this issue is finally being put back onto the agenda and that we do have some movement to improve our connections and improve our services.
“I am slightly disappointed to see the Secretary of State only say they are working to a timeframe of possible extension by 2030, which to my mind is far too long to have to wait, however now that the principle has been accepted I am hopeful the time frame can be brought forward once the immense benefits of these proposals are fully understood.
“Improving the rail network in the North East is something I, and many of my Labour colleagues, see as a real priority and I look forward to continuing our work on securing the best deal for our region, so that the people and businesses here are able to do as well as they can to bring more growth to our area.”