MP calls for former Leamside Line to be used to extend Metro to Washington

Sharon Hodgson on the Leamside Line
Sharon Hodgson on the Leamside Line

An MP has written to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, calling for the Metro to be extended to Washington.

Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson has submitted evidence to the Department for Transport’s Call for Evidence on light rail, and written to the Secretary calling for the network to be extended to the New Town.

The letter details several reasons for an extension, including regional growth, accessibility of education and sustainable environmental benefits.

Mrs Hodgson has welcomed the upgrade of the current Metro fleet in the coming years, but believes an extension of services to Washington is something that the region needs.

With a population of 70,000, Washington is one of the largest towns without any rail link. Existing proposals suggest an extension using the Leamside Line, to connect Washington stations to Pelaw and Sunderland.

"Residents of Washington have been calling for a Metro link for many years now," said Mrs Hodgson.

"Yet, despite our passion and determination, proposals are yet to be actioned. This has left many of my constituents feeling that Washington is being left behind, with poor transport infrastructure.

"Some have hailed expansion as ambitious, but I firmly believe that an expansion to Washington New Town is viable and well overdue. The Tyne and Wear Metro is one of our regional treasures, and the Government must continue to invest to maintain its infrastructure.

"However, I believe investment into expansion must be realised if the Government wants to take seriously its commitments to the environment and a sustainable future.

"Washington has so much potential, and an expansion of the Metro would, without doubt improve, the lives of residents of all of Tyne and Wear. The future of light rail in the UK is an exciting one, if the Government cares to snap up opportunities such as this.

"Metro extension would catalyse a boldly prosperous and better-connected Tyne and Wear.

"As part of my wider campaign to bring the Metro to Washington, I have written this letter after careful research. I am looking forward to reading the Department for Transport’s response."

The general call for evidence on how to better use and implement light rail and other rapid transit solutions in cities and towns is open until the 19th of May 2019, and I would encourage constituents to take part, too. Details can be found on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/light-rail-and-other-rapid-transit-solutions-in-cities-and-towns-call-for-evidence