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Newcastle-York rail investment proposals


03 April 2020

Network Rail has identified a programme of investments to accommodate more services between Yorkshire and Newcastle, including Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 services.

Network Rail’s investigations have examined the railway between Newcastle and Church Fenton between Leeds and York, where the HS2 line is proposed to join the existing rail network.

The two-track section of railway between Northallerton in North Yorkshire and Newcastle is already a bottleneck. 

Tobyn Hughes, managing director for Transport North East presented a summary of the findings in a report for the North East Joint Transport Committee. 

Listed from south to north they are:

  • platform lengthening at Church Fenton
  • new platforms and an improved track layout at York
  • additional track between York and Skelton Junction, where the Harrogate line branches off
  • options to move passenger calls from the main line platforms at Northallerton
  • new through and bay platforms at Darlington
  • rerouting freight off the East Coast Main Line between Northallerton and Ferryhill by running trains via Eaglescliffe and the Stillington branch that rejoins the main line at Ferryhill
  • reinstating the Leamside line from Ferryhill northwards either in part of full; the line could rejoin the ECML north of Durham or join the Sunderland to Newcastle line east of Heworth
  • unspecified options to increase capacity on the Durham Coast line (Hartlepool-Sunderland-Newcastle) for additional passenger services
  • new track near Bensham Curve in Gateshead (separating freight from passenger services)
  • lengthening bay platforms at Newcastle Central to accommodate HS2 and NPR trains (Newcastle City Council is currently leading on station redevelopment plans)

Hughes said the next stage of the exercise would see local authorities, Transport for the North and Network Rail develop a “phased approach to progressing the business cases for the interventions identified”. 

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