North East Coastliners

"A Voice for Durham Coast Rail Users"

Improvements to accessibility at Billingham railway station is set to go ahead after a £1m contribution from Tees Valley was signed off by Mayor Ben Houchen.

Passengers with mobility issues can only access platforms 1 and 2 via a stepped footbridge at the moment. This makes Billingham the only station in the North East regularly served by trains which has no access for passengers with reduced mobility.

As part of the £3.59m project, the existing footbridge will be replaced by a new one complete with lifts, and will allow step-free access for wheelchair users.

In addition, improvements to the car park and access routes will be made.

Work is expected to start in March 2022 and be completed by November.

Meanwhile work on the Hartlepool Station improvements which will bring platform 3 back into use is scheduled to start next month.

Coastliners along with other rail user groups and community rail partnerships as well as local politicians have been busy behind the scenes objecting to LNERs proposals for a completely new May 2022 timetable. Whilst giving additional and faster trains from Newcastle to London, the effect on other East Coast operators was to reduce and/or curtail services. The result was not only fewer trains stopping at Darlington but through journey possibilities slashed. For the Durham Coast it meant Northern’s trains running only between Middlesbrough and Newcastle, losing our long fought for extensions to Hexham in the north and Nunthorpe/Whitby in the south which provided through trains to James Cook Hospital and the Metro Centre. For these destinations a change and often a wait at Middlesbrough or Newcastle would have been necessary.

It would seem that for once someone has been listening as it has been announced this week that the implementation of the new timetable is to be delayed whilst the views of some 5000 objectors is considered. A big thank you to any readers of this blog that wrote one of those letters. We shall remain vigilant to see what transpires.

The Northern Belle dining train visited the Durham Coastline last weekend and was photographed at Hawthorn Dene by David Warren in a picture that captures the scenic beauty of our line. This picture is copyright of the photographer but reproduced here with his permission.

NMP NDE C57601 leads Northern Belle (Wakefield circular) @ Hawthorne Dean ( David Warren)