Thursday, 17 April 2014

The effect of the Beeching report in Northumberland

I was talking during the week with a chap in Blyth about the proposals to bring railways back to this area by starting passenger services along the former Blyth and Tyne line.

I really don't think that his suggestion of bringing the Metro to Blyth is a starter, as the overhead lines would need to be installed. But, the use of the line for light DMUs is a distinct possibilty.

He had to reminded that this would not bring the railway back to Blyth, which was served by a short branch now lost, but to Newsham and / or Bebside which would need stations to be rebuilt, even if only short platforms and "bus shelters". And people from Blyth would need to find their way to these stations to then take the train, but that's another argument entirely.

I am hopeful that this plan is possible, and I support the principle even if much of the detail needs to be agreed..

However, his views on how the Beeching report "decimated the railways in Northumberland" left me curious. Overall the report took out much of the then railway mileage, about a third I believe. Many of the stations were uneconomical and much under used.

But in Northumberland I think that the cuts affected this corner of South East Northumberland only. The railway stations in the rest of Northumberland had already been cut.

I'll give details of the lines and years of closure of most of the stations on those lines :-

Allendale Branch     1930

Wansbeck line (Meldon & Scots gap up to Woodburm and Reedsmouth)     1952

Rothbury Branch     1952

Ponteland and Darras Hall Branch     1929

Stations at Heddon on the Wall, North Wylam and Newburn   1958

Border Counties Railway ( Bellingham, Wall, Falstone, up to Kielder ) 1955 and 1956

Amble Branch 1930

Alnwick to Cornhill   1930

So although the Beeching recommendations  did take the Blyth, Bedlington and Newbiggin lines off the railway map , a lot of Northumberland had already lost the railways.

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