Ferryhill station in County Durham has come a stage nearer re-opening, to provide a passenger rail link to Teesside, following a government announcement at the weekend.
It is one of nine projects around England which will share £15m from the Restoring Your Railway fund, set up in 2020 to progress schemes to the next stage of development.
The station would use the Stillington Line into Teesside, which is at present open to freight trains only, and could potentially connect with a re-opened Leamside Line to provide a link northwards to join the Tyne & Wear Metro at Pelaw.
The Ferryhill Station/Stillington Line project is included in the North East Transport Plan (p. 144), scheduled for 2022-28 and costed at £12m, which makes it a realistic prospect.
Rail Minister Wendy Morton said: ‘This fund is a great example of how we are committed to helping communities across the country level up and reconnect people and businesses to new opportunities.’
Councillor Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: ‘This is an incredibly exciting announcement and brings us one step closer to realising our plans to reopen Ferryhill Station to passengers.
‘The station offers a unique opportunity to link the south of the county with key employment sites in Teesside, including the proposed Teesside Freeport and Tees Valley multi-modal hydrogen transport hub, which have the potential to support 18,000 and 3,900 jobs respectively.
‘Partnered with the potential long-term reinstatement of the Leamside Line, which is still under review, a Ferryhill station could be part of a potential new Tyne-Tees connection, seeing rail services continue all the way up to Newcastle.’
Paul Howells, Conservative MP for Sedgefield, who has campaigned for the re-opening of Ferryhill Station and the Stillington Line, said: ‘I can only echo Elizabeth Scott and say how thrilled I am about today’s announcement that Ferryhill is one of the nine projects to progress to the next stage of development.
‘Places like Ferryhill are crying out for direct rail connectivity, and we must continue to call for investment in this critical piece of railway infrastructure. I am delighted that the support that the Durham leadership have given and the shouting up I have done in Westminster have been recognised by DfT [Department for Transport] and we will continue to push hard until we see spades in the ground.’