Sunday, 8 June 2008

Riding on the 'Ashington Future'

SENRUG ran a charter train - the 'Ashington Future' - around the route of the proposed passenger service on the Ashington-Blyth-Tyne line on Saturday (7th June).
The two 'public' services were sold out within days on being announced - but I'm still sufficiently important to get a seat on the VIP service. This was stuffed full on MPs, MEPs, unitary authority councillors and council transport officers - as you'll have seen from quotes and photos in the press. I was a bit disappointed that apart from someone from SENNTRI - there were few or no regeneration or economic development people there.
I liked the choice of an ordinary two-carriage unit - which would be the normal train used on a local service, and I gather that the £6 return fare is about what the actual cost would be on a normal service.
I think the ease and convenience of the route surprised a lot of VIPs - and the whole exercise (sponsored by Wansbeck DC) was an excellent demostration of the potential of the passenger service.
Incidentally - SENUG petition calling for the re-opening of the Ashington-Blyth-Tyne Line to passenger services received 1292 signatures in total and has elicited a response from Government which includes the paragraph:
“Where, as with the Blyth and Tyne line, local and regional authorities are prepared to take the lead in drawing up a proper business case for reopening a particular line or stations and identifying funding, the Government will carefully consider the case.”

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