Richard Holden, Member of Parliament for North West Durham, has written to the CEO of the Auckland Project in a letter co-signed by Dehenna Davison MP for Bishop Auckland, Paul Howell MP for Sedgefield, and Peter Gibson MP for Darlington, to show a united support for the Restoring Your Railway submission for the Weardale Railway.
The Weardale Railway was part of a line which originally ran from Bishop Auckland to Wearhead along a distance of 25 miles. The freight service ceased operations in 1992 and in 1993 the heritage rail service was started.1993 saw the formation of the Weardale Railway Preservation Society (WRPS), a group of supporters of the line who have campaign for its preservation and potential for reopening. Weardale railway is now a major tourist attraction in the area.
Richard is working to support The Auckland Project, a local group working to reinvigorate the region, in their bid to look at reopening the Weardale line with a branch spur to Crook via Howden-le-Wear as a passenger service. This is part of Richard's campaign on the project, which you can read about here. A bid has been submitted to the Department for Transport to have the proposal looked at and needs the support of at least one MP. You can complete a survey on the Weardale railway line here.
Richard and other County Durham MPs have now confirmed their support for the project, stating that the proposal will ensure:
- A revitalised Weardale Line, as well as ‘crucial connections’ for communities along the route, including the possibility of reconnecting Crook and Howden-Le-Wear
- An improved cycling and walking links along and around the route, especially into Bishop Auckland and the new stations proposed along the route
- Connectivity with the Newton Aycliffe Industrial Estate and the revitalisation of The Locomotion Pub there,
- Station halts serving new towns and villages
Commenting, Richard Holden, Member of Parliament for North West Durham, said:
“I am delighted that all Conservative MPs in County Durham and Darlington are getting behind the bid for the Weardale Railway.
“This project will bring huge benefit to the communities that we were all elected to serve and really help deliver on the levelling up agenda that we were all elected to deliver.
“This would be a huge boost for local businesses, employment and educational opportunities and would increase tourism in our local areas – all of which would help to level up North West Durham and the wider North East. I very much look forward to working with The Auckland Project, the council and my Parliamentary colleagues on this project going forward and build back better from the pandemic.”
To hear more about the work that Richard is doing for North West Durham, you can sign up here or input your details in the form on this page.