Leader of the House of Commons, Mark Spencer, met local residents and commuters on Wednesday 26 August to discover how they would benefit from the reopening of Ferryhill Railway station.
He was joined by Rail Minister, Wendy Morton MP, at Ferryhill, one of the “Restoring Your Railway” schemes receiving a share of the government’s £500 million to reopen stations closed more than 50 years ago by the controversial Beeching era cuts to investment.
Mark met local County Councillor and avid Ferryhill Station campaigner Joe Quinn who successfully engaged his community and worked with local MP for Sedgefield Paul Howell in the campaign for the station to be reopened. Mr Spencer praised Joe for his determination in securing funding to develop the proposal for the station’s reopening.
Ferryhill Station, which closed in 1969, would provide vital transport links for communities, open up job opportunities, and encourage a shift from road to rail − helping to reduce congestion and environmental impact. As well as linking the community to Teesside, Ferryhill becomes the first step in the proposal for the Leamside Line reopening, which would further connect the community to Newcastle and Sunderland.
The Leader of the House also visited Locomotion, a site which was recently awarded £5.9 million of Levelling Up funding via Durham City Council. This will allow the site to open a brand new building which will house up to 50 more vehicles and make Locomotion home to the world’s largest undercover collection of heritage rail vehicles.
Paul Howell, MP for Sedgefield and supporter of the Ferryhill Station reopening said:
“I am delighted that Leader of the House of Commons, Mark Spencer MP, and the Rail Minister, Wendy Morton MP, have both taken the time to come and see for themselves how important the opening of a passenger service from Ferryhill to Teesside is to these communities.
“The towns and villages in the immediate vicinity of the Ferryhill station have some of the lowest car ownership in the country so introducing transport infrastructure connecting them to job opportunities will be fantastic.
“The impact of this investment is a clear and tangible sign of levelling up opportunities for these communities. The recent announcement by Wendy Morton that this had proceeded to a detailed evaluation by Network Rail was very welcome and I hope these visits can encourage pace into the decisions and we can see spades in the ground as soon as possible.”
Image credit: UK Government