Richard Holden, Member of Parliament for North West Durham, has launched a campaign to look at reopening the Weardale Line, with a link to Crook and enhanced cycling and walking routes in Weardale.
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 now working supporting The Auckland Project, who are working on the Towns Fund bid in Bishop Auckland and working to reinvigorate the region, and other local stakeholders as he puts forward a bid to look at reopening the Weardale line with a branch spur to Crook via Howden-le-Wear too as a passenger service. While much of the old line into the centre of Crook has been built over the line to the south side of the town, through Howden, is clear, which would allow a service to be built. Richard has launched a survey on his campaign, which you can complete here.
Richard is also keen to ensure enhanced cycling and walking facilities in the Dale and improved bus services as well, particularly later in the evening and to better connect Crook, Tow Law and Willington with the City of Durham and is excited to see what the National Bus Strategy, due within the next few months, will bring. You can read more about Richard's work on local transport here.
This latest campaign follows Richard’s successful campaign to get a feasibility study done for the Consett-Tyne project, which you can read about here.
Commenting, Richard Holden, Member of Parliament for North West Durham, said:
“I am delighted to announce the launch of my new campaign to look at reopening the Weardale line as both a passenger and freight railway. This would be a huge boost for local businesses, employment and educational opportunities and would increase tourism in our local area.
“I am very grateful to the Auckland Project for the work they have already done in this area so far and very much look forward to working with them on this project. I have launched a survey about the railway and local travel on my website and I encourage all of you to complete it.
“This is part of my wider campaign to level up transport in North West Durham and I will be pushing Government Ministers and my Parliamentary colleagues to give our area the support it deserves.”
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.