Passengers at three north-east railway stations are set to benefit from £15m of government investment, the transport secretary has announced today (29 June 2020).
Horden station in Durham will open to passengers for the first time today. This restores a vital link for up to 70,000 passengers in an area that hasn’t had a station in a 20km stretch after the previous station was closed following the Beeching cuts in 1964.
The £10.55m project, led by Durham County Council and Network Rail, has been supported by £4.4m from the Department for Transport’s New Stations Fund.
The transport secretary has also announced £8.7m of investment to develop proposals for a package of enhancements to modernise Darlington station. These include two new platforms for local services, one new platform for southbound long-distance services and a raft of improvements to make the station more accessible.
A further £2.45m has also been agreed to develop proposals at Middlesborough station that would see platform 2 extended to accommodate longer trains with more seats. A new platform would also be built, increasing capacity for local services and delivering more comfortable journeys for passengers.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “Our ambitious plans to restore and revitalise the railways of the north-east sits at the heart of our commitment to level up infrastructure across the country, build a railway that works for everyone and kickstart our economy as we begin the recovery from Covid-19.
“I’ve seen first hand how the new Horden Station will improve connectivity for thousands of people, easing congestion in Durham and enabling quick, convenient travel between Newcastle and Middlesbrough.
“By backing proposals to improve both Darlington and Middlesbrough stations, we will work to invigorate rail connections and deliver more modern, reliable services for passengers and businesses now and in the future.”
Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, said: “It has been a long held ambition to have a station at Horden so, after a number of years of hard work and commitment by ourselves and our partners, it’s fantastic that we are now ready to welcome the first train and the first passengers.
“This new facility will open up significant opportunities for communities across east Durham, by providing a direct transport link to Teesside, Wearside and Tyneside. And, of course, it will also make it easier for people from outside the area to travel to the east of the county, whether for business or pleasure.
“It is going to provide a major economic boost to the county and I’m sure residents and businesses will be keen to take advantage.”
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “I am delighted that the government has once again thrown its weight behind my plans to upgrade both Darlington and Middlesbrough stations, a move which will help thousands of rail travellers in my region with more frequent and reliable services, and ensure we are better connected to London and the rest of the UK.
“Improved rail connectivity will help us attract even more big businesses and high levels of investment to the Tees Valley, which is central to my plan to create good quality, local jobs for people in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.
“This £11m investment is another significant milestone in improving transport connectivity in the Tees Valley and is further proof that this government is serious about its levelling up agenda and giving the north the investment it deserves.”