Rail investment

On behalf of the North East Joint Transport Committee we believe that the key to achieving the region’s long-term economic plan lies in upgrading the East Coast Main Line.

As a region, the North East relies on this vital line for all of our services to London, Scotland and the Midlands, as well as to Leeds and Manchester.

Currently the route is operating at full capacity as between Northallerton, Newcastle and Berwick, the line consists of only two tracks. This means any high-speed services – which could reach up to 125mph – must compete for space alongside local rail services and freight. As a result, punctuality is steadily declining, and hold-ups caused by other trains is the biggest single cause of delay. Given that the line last saw major investment three decades ago, investment is well overdue to make it faster and more resilient.

The North East Joint Transport Committee recently approved the first North East Rail and Metro Strategy which outlines our region’s ambitions up to 2035.

The Leamside Line is currently disused but reopening it could boost capacity as a solution to the blocked East Coast Main Line.

The Leamside Line

We are leading a campaign to reopen the Leamside Line. Reopening the disused line is a key priority for the region because of the economic, social, and environmental benefits it would bring.

The rail route – a 21 mile stretch from Gateshead, through South Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham but closed since 1992 – runs through numerous areas where new jobs and housing could be stimulated by new stations, as well as taking hundreds of cars each day off some the region’s main commuter roads – improving city centre air quality and decarbonising transport.

The line’s reopening is strongly supported by the region’s political and business leaders.

Work on this is ongoing, see our news section for updates.

“The Leamside Line is one of our top priorities and its reopening would change the socio-economic future of the North East. We need the Leamside Line reopened and our political and business communities are absolutely united on this.

“Places like Follingsby, Washington and Ferryhill are crying out for direct rail connectivity, and we must continue to call for investment in this critical piece of railway infrastructure.

“Leamside has the potential to be game-changing – let’s make it a reality for the people of the North East.”

Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair, North East Joint Transport Committee
Political and business leaders show their support in February 2022 by walking the Leamside Line
Transport Types Icon

Campaigns & Initiatives

Active Travel Fund
On behalf of the North East Joint Transport Committee (NEJTC), Transport North East has worked tirelessly to support walking and cycling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Transforming Cities Fund (TCF)
The Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) has provided the North East region with £208m for capital investment in our sustainable transport networks.
Active Travel Campaign, ‘Go Smarter, Go Active’
In parts of the North East cycling is up between 5%-120%, and active travel is more popular than ever as people keep up their new love of walking and cycling post lockdown.