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Northern unveils new staff facility as it prepares to run services on the Northumberland Line

The depot at Ashington Station will be used by nine conductors, who will be based there and supported by a Conductor Team Manager, as well as drivers looking to take a short break between services. 

Ashington was chosen as the location because it is a terminus station which provides a natural starting and finishing point.  

The depot, which consists of two cabins that were installed by contractors McAvoy, is located by the southern end of the platform in its own secure compound, with access to the station car park.

It features a rest room, a locker room with toilets and showers, a signing on point for the safety and operational notices and a place where conductors can collect and return equipment at the end of each shift.

The Northumberland Line is due to open from summer 2024, as part of an ambitious project involving the Department for Transport, Northumberland County Council, Network Rail and Northern.  

When the line opens services will call at Ashington, Newsham, Seaton Delaval and Newcastle, with a journey along the entire route taking around 35 minutes.

Stations in Bedlington, Blyth Bebside and Northumberland Park are under construction and due to open for customers travelling on the Northumberland Line next year.

Jason Wade, regional director for Northern, said: “We’re working hard to ensure our staff have everything they need to run services and connect communities along the Northumberland Line.  

“We will provide a timetable that will allow people of all ages to get where they need to go for a low cost, whether they are travelling to school, commuting to work or heading for a fun day out.”

Councillor Glen Sanderson, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “It is fantastic to see these buildings going in at Ashington as we prepare for the line re-opening in the coming months.

"We’ve had very difficult weather conditions over the last six months so it’s  lovely to see the sun shine again.

“With drier weather now making working easier at the various sites, we are making good progress on this hugely ambitious project. The final touches are now being done at Ashington and the new road bridge at Newsham is nearing completion.

“This is a real example of partners working together to get passenger services running again and we are looking forward to many more milestones in the near future ahead of the official opening.”

Northern is committed to ensuring rail fares on the route are affordable and the operator has announced customers will pay less than £3 for the maximum off-peak single fare (for the full line from Ashington to Newcastle).

There will be an innovative approach to pricing to enable customers to combine peak and off-peak tickets and get the best value travel. Cheaper fares for customers aged 21 and under will start from £1 for a single. 

Northern has also worked with Nexus, the public body which runs Tyne and Wear Metro, and Northumberland County Council to provide integrated fares for multi-modal journeys.

Customers will be able to seamlessly switch between Metro and Northern services by using the North East’s successful Pop ‘Pay As You Go’ payment system to purchase smart fares.

Northern is the second largest train operator in the UK, with 2,500 services a day to more than 500 stations across the North of England.  


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