"A Voice for Durham Coast Rail Users"

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Teesside Mayor Ben  Houchen & Hartlepool Council Leader Shane Moore have announced that £1.5m has been made available for a GRIP 3 study for returning Hartlepool’s disused up platform to service . GRIP is Network Rail’s ‘Governance for Railway Investment Projects’ process and has eight stages from Output Definition to Project Close Out. The present study, which is intended to be completed by March 2021, will cover Output Definition, Feasibility and Option Selection i.e developing  the options, then assessing the most appropriate to meet the requirements and confirming that they can be economically delivered. Only after this has been completed and approved can the project move on to detailed design.

The Government has yesterday  named Tees Valley as the UK’s first Hydrogen Transport Hub . On the east side of the Pennines, Transport for the North has been backing the Tees Valley Combined Authorities‘ plans to bring hydrogen fuel cell trains and related hydrogen innovations to the Tees Valley for some time. The fact that Tees Valley is already responsible for half of the UK’s hydrogen production, and its compact nature as an industrial centre, makes it an ideal location for the development of hydrogen train and other hydrogen transport technologies and as a UK centre of excellence.

Hydrogen-Trains-HydroFLEX-Hydrogen-Train-©-University-of-Birmingham-and-Porterbrook

 

 

Whilst complying with Covid-19 restrictions the Coastliners Committee has recently been able to meet in order to take stock of our situation and our influence in the railway world.  However, because of the virus we have not been able to have any Open Meetings and this is much regretted.  However the virus has not prevented us from contributing to various surveys and initiatives, as follows.

Our Chairman, true to form, has been significantly involved in compiling a substantial and impressive Railfuture North East document to the National Infrastructure Committee.  The Chairmen of SLUG (Saltburn Line User Group) and SENRUG (South East Northumberland Rail User Group) also made major contributions to this submission.  Our present project is to contribute to the House of Commons Inquiry into how the nation best recovers from the effects of the virus.  We have also been able to make a contribution to the Campaign for Better Transport survey concerning the government’s de-carbonisation of transport initiative whilst we are also wondering whether to contribute to a Durham County Council petition concerning Ferryhill Station and the Leamside and Stillington Lines.  Thus, although the lack of Open Meetings is a major disappointment to us all, Coastliners has been, and is, very much involved in activities within our campaigning remit.

Your Committee was able to meet late last month.  The Reading Room at The Athenaeum Club is large enough for all five members of the Committee to meet whilst fulfilling social distancing requirements. Amongst other things, we discussed a number of ways in which we might come as close as we can to holding Open Meetings in these restricted times.  The potential solution with which we felt the most at ease was to invite a Visiting Guest Speaker to meet with the Committee at The Athenaeum.  Following the meeting, a report of the meeting would be compiled and distributed to members.  Almost uncannily, that potential solution transpired to fit very effectively with Boris’s Rule of Six edict of recent days … five members of Committee plus the Visiting Guest Speaker!  Whether any of our potential guests would be willing to meet with the Committee in such circumstances remains to be seen.  But we are doing our best!

Please watch this space for further up-to-date news.

Vic Branfoot,

Hon Secretary