Re-opening railway lines to Houghton & Washington must be part of Government’s £500m plans – city Lib Dems

Wearside Liberal Democrats are writing to the Transport Secretary to demand that part of a £500m fund for feasibility studies into re-opening disused railway lines is spent on plans to bring the railways back to the towns of Washington and Houghton-le-Spring.

Today (28th January) the Government have announced a £500m fund for studies into re-opening old railway lines closed during the 1960s as part of the infamous ‘Beeching’ cuts.

Funding has already been announced for two proposed re-openings, including the Ashington-Blyth-Tyne line in Northumberland.

Now Liberal Democrats in Sunderland want the fund to look at bringing rail services back to Wearside towns that don’t have any railway or Metro services.

They argue that re-opening the former Leamside line between Sunderland, Washington, Penshaw, Rainton and Pelaw could bring the Metro services to communities in Washington, Houghton and Sunderland that are in desperate need of better transport links.

Commenting, Wearside Liberal Democrat spokesperson Paul Edgeworth said:

"Residents in all parts of Houghton, Washington and west Sunderland pay their taxes like everyone else but have had to put up with sub-standard transport links for decades. With the Government now offering funding and support to re-open railway lines it is about time we seized the moment and demanded that the Metro is extended from Sunderland and South Hylton through to Washington, Penshaw, Rainton & Fencehouses.

"Re-opening the full length of the Leamside line would provide a new direct rail link between Sunderland, Washington, the Houghton area and up to Pelaw and Newcastle which could transform the economy of our communities.

"Sunderland Liberal Democrats are determined to keep up the pressure on the Government to maximise our chances of extending the Metro or Northern Rail services to as many parts of Wearside as possible."

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