Sunderland council leader backs petition to reopen Leamside Line
Sunderland City Council’s top man is urging city residents to back new calls to reopen the mothballed Leamside Line.
The line has not carried passengers since 1964 and was closed altogether in the early 1990s,
North East transport chiefs have been campaigning to reopen it for years. They say the move would ease pressure on the East Coast Mainline and clear the way to extend the Metro into Washington and County Durham via Penshaw.
The plans are being promoted as part of Transport for the North’s (TfN) Northern Powerhouse Rail project, but concerns have been raised over an alternative proposal, known as Leamside South, which the North East Combined Authority says threatens the plans.
And now city council leader Coun Graeme Miller, who lives in the New Town, is backing the campaign: “As a Washington councillor and council leader, I can categorically state that Sunderland City Council wants to see more investment in all our city’s transport links,” he said.
“This council is working closely with its transport partners across the region to bring more rail investment. Our communities have benefited from Metro extensions – socially and economically – and an expanded rail and Metro network can bring many more benefits.
“Metro extensions and opening Leamside are very much part of the bigger Regional Transport Plan."
Reopening the Leamside line in full, including the short spur to South Hylton, would allow Washington to be linked back into both the national and local rail networks: “In addition, it offers Sunderland the potential of faster links to London, Leeds and Manchester via connections with the East Coast Main Line at Tursdale,” said Coun Miller.
“Government spending per head on public transport in Sunderland and across the North East is about a third of what it is London, if we get this spending changed and increased investment there are many opportunities to transform our city’s transport links.
“I shall be signing the petition and would urge everyone else to do so.”
To sign the petition, https://sharonhodgson.laboursites.org/reopen_rail_petition/