APPG for Leamside Line Launched

A new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Leamside Line was formally launched in Parliament on 10 May 2023.

Sharon Hodgson MP and Paul Howell MP have long campaigned for the re-opening of the Leamside Line, and have brought fellow North East parliamentarians together, from all parties, to discuss the future of the line.    

During the inaugural meeting, Tobyn Hughes, Managing Director of Transport North East gave an overview of the route and the economic and social benefits of re-opening it. He told the Group that initial business cases have been produced for the re-opening of Ferryhill station in County Durham, and for the Washington Metro Loop, a new Metro connection from Pelaw to South Hylton via Washington. A response to both business cases is awaited from the Rail Minister, Huw Merriman MP.

It is predicted that the new Metro line will:

  • generate over £90m per year in economic benefits to the region. Each Metro taken in the region generates £11.80 for the economy
  • create nearly 8m additional passenger journeys a year
  • reduce carbon emissions by nearly 87,000 tonnes a year by replacing nearly 1.7m car journeys per year – the equivalent of over half a million trees each year
  • give Washington – the fourth largest town without access to a rail service – new connections to Newcastle, Sunderland and Newcastle International Airport

Speaking after the meeting, Co-Chair Sharon Hodgson MP said “Today we held the inaugural meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Leamside Line. It was a packed room and MPs and Peers from all major parties across the whole region were represented.

“We developed a great plan for the year ahead on how we can continue this campaign and get the Government to back the re-opening of the Leamside Line, all the way from Pelaw to Ferryhill. The benefits that this investment would bring to the region are enormous – starting with the Washington Metro Loop which will finally bring rail services to my constituency.”

Co-Chair Paul Howell MP said “It is absolutely fantastic to see this started and that so many MPs and Peers give their backing; local MPs from all parties understanding the importance of what we need to do to get the Leamside Line back open.

“It is about connecting places and connecting our region. It is important for local resilience; it is important for our communities. We need to make sure that the Government recognises that, and that the Government is listening in terms of where it is putting its efforts for local rail.”

MEMBERS

Co-Chairs: Sharon Hodgson MP (Washington and Sunderland West) and Paul Howell MP (Sedgefield)

Officers: Ian Levy MP (Blyth Valley), Peter Gibson MP (Darlington), Emma Lewell-Buck MP (South Tyneside), Mary Glindon MP (North Tyneside), Mary Foy MP (City of Durham), Julie Elliott MP (Sunderland Central), Liz Twist MP (Blaydon), Kate Osborne MP (Jarrow), Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North), Baroness Quin, Baroness Grey-Thompson and Lord Shipley being elected as officers.

The APPG secretariat will be producing an activity plan for the year ahead, which will be shared in the coming weeks.

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