This afternoon saw a train head up the Northumberland Line to show visiting guests from the Department for Transport, Network Rail and Local Authorities, the work that's going on as part of our Restoring Your Railway project.
We'll share some of the photos that we've taken along the way as we journeyed from Newcastle via the Northumberland Line as far as Bedlington, before the train then headed to Morpeth (as Northern's drivers aren't trained to drive to Ashington yet).
The first picture (left) shows the work on the new underpass at Palmersville Dairy with drainage work continuing ahead of the path re-opening in February 2024.
The second picture (centre) shows the work at Northumberland Park with work progressing on the top level of the site.
As well as building new stations and infrastructure, there's new track and signalling being installed. The third picture (right) shows a new section of track to create a loop between Holywell (Backworth) and Seghill level crossings. This new section of track will allow for trains to pass so that the important freight trains that run on the line won't delay the passenger services.
The next point of interest on the line was at the station construction site at Seaton Delaval (left) where the site is being prepared for the platform to be installed. One of the other major rail infrastructure projects has been extending the embankment between New Hartley and Newsham so that the double track section can be extended (centre picture). The picture on the right shows the progress on the new road bridge at Newsham and the abutments on both sides of the line are really taking shape.
The supports for the new road bridge at Newsham are also progressing well as the picture on the left shows. The centre picture shows the newly installed footbridge for the station and the base for the lift shaft, which is to the right of the picture.
As we continued to head North, the train then past the station construction site at Blyth Bebside (right) where ground preparation works are well underway as well as works to place the new footbridge over the A189.
The last three pictures show the latest situation at Bedlington. The picture on the left shows the progress on Furnace Way sidings, which are looking almost ready for service. The sidings will be used for freight trains that need to change direction on their journey from the Northern end of the East Coast Main Line before they head to the Port of Blyth. Keeping freight moving is a huge part of the line's development as well as restoring the passenger service to South East Northumberland.
The pictures in the centre and right show the buildings at Bedlington station. The centre picture shows the South building which is due to be demolished once a historical recording process has been completed. The picture on the right shows the North building, which Network Rail, Northumberland County Council, East Bedlington Parish Council, Northumberland Line Community Heritage Group & SENRUG are working together to restore the building for the community to use.
Many of you might be wondering why the trains don't go to Ashington, and there's a couple of reasons. As we've mentioned before, the drivers from Northern aren't trained on the route as yet, plus, the current signalling isn't set up for trains to terminate at Ashington. Obviously both will change ahead of the line opening to customers in Summer 2024.