NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY Council’s Cabinet was due to approve further expenditure towards reopening the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne line for passenger services at its meeting on 12 February.

The £3.46 million of funding is intended to take the project to the next stage of the Government’s Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP) process. The council hopes the scheme will be included within the North East’s allocation of the Transforming Cities Fund.

A Network Rail GRIP2 (feasibility) study has been completed, following which the council commissioned Aecom to undertake a range of tasks, including completion of a Strategic Outline Business Case and identification and development of a funding and delivery model for the scheme. A report to the Cabinet meeting says the emerging SOBC indicates a positive benefit-cost ratio, with the aim to proceed to the next stage of RNEP, the develop stage. The aim is to submit an Outline Business Case and proposal for GRIP4 (design) by November.

On 8 February a special working organised by Northern traversed the line, with guests on-board including Transport Secretary Chris Grayling