The line could create rail travel from places currently bereft of trains, including Washington, Penshaw, Fence Houses and swathes of County Durham.
It would see the glorious Victoria Viaduct back in use, while Washington and Durham might finally have access to the Metro. However, so often does the suggestion arise, people will understandably only believe it when they see it.
The idea has been mooted for decades (actually the line was last used in 1991). The biggest obstacle is hard cash. But another issue, more trifling yet no less irritating for that, concerns the Metro.
Sunderland at Wembley: London pub landlord thanks SAFC fans for ‘bumper weekend’ after League play-off final victory over Wycombe Wanderers
TRAFFIC LATEST: Two people taken to hospital as the A1231 Sunderland Highway reopens following a crash
NIKKI ALLAN: Man accused of murder of Sunderland schoolgirl in 1992 set to face trial
Man appears in court over the murder of Sunderland schoolgirl Nikki Allan in 1992
Serial Sunderland road menace with 63 offences drove in faulty BMW with smashed windows to escape police
It’s named the Tyne and Wear Metro after the “county” it serves. However, the only objection to extending the service to County Durham, other than financial, is not only pedantic, it’s plain wrong.
The metropolitan county has not meaningfully existed since the Tyne and Wear County Council was humanely killed in 1986 after just 12 years. The name is still sometimes used, usually erroneously.
Sunderland, Jarrow, Shields and the rest are effectively not now in any county; served by unitary authorities rather than a county council.
Since 1974 the public have wanted to see towns and cities returned to the counties they have truly belonged for over a millennium; and forget that the last 47 years ever happened.
Sunderland, South Tyneside and Gateshead belong to County Durham. Restoration could be achieved without being answerable to Durham County Council – as Darlington has proved.
The nearest to approval of the status quo we ever hear is apathy. Yet the political will seems absent. Strange, as returning places to their rightful counties and identities, at minimal expense, seems an easy way to garner public approval; and politicians love that.
Hopefully the Leamside Line debate will be used as a vehicle to highlight this secondary issue.
As the city of Durham, containing the North East’s greatest landmarks, sits slap bang on the Wear, the Tyne and Wear Metro could reasonably keep its name, as long as we are referring to a geographical area, rather than a fake and universally disliked county.
But personally I would like to see "Tyne and Wear” dispelled from everywhere ... forever.