EXTRA trains are to be drafted in to transport some of the expected 25,000 visitors to this year’s Northumberland County Show.
Northern Rail will put on four extra trains on May 27 to cope with the crowds – and avoid a repeat of the problems of previous years.
The show transfers this year to a new venue at Bywell on the banks of the Tyne, east of the traditional venue, Corbridge. And trains will stop at Stocksfield station, less than a mile away from the showground at Bywell Hall.
Drew Haley, stakeholder manager at Northern Rail, was approached by a delegation last year including Hexham MP Guy Opperman.
Now Mr Haley has confirmed that as well as the four extra trains, with four carriages, every service train between Newcastle and Carlisle on the day will stop at Stocksfield.
Show secretary and treasurer Gaynor Scandle said: “It’s good news for the show – a lot of people want to travel by train and it has happened in the past that people have not been able to get on because of the numbers travelling.
“We are grateful to both Guy Opperman for driving this forward and the Tyne Valley Rail Users group for their support.
“Corbridge Station was only a matter of yards from the old showground, but the 0.7 miles from Stocksfield to Bywell is a level and pleasant walk with a footpath.
“We cannot put buses on as they are unable to turn around, but at Tynedale Park in Corbridge people had to walk a similar distance from some of the back car parks.”
Mr Haley said: “Northern Rail are delighted to provide additional services and seats for this great show to let people beat the traffic. Let’s hope the weather is kind this year and a great day out can be had.”
Mr Opperman said in his blog: “After months of badgering I am delighted that the team have listened to myself, the County Show team and the Tyne Valley Rail Users Group and have decided to lay on more trains.
“We have had problems with Northern Rail in the past but to their great credit the management team have really tried to take our criticisms on board and expand the service.”
The new show, on land fronting Bywell Hall, the home of Lord and Lady Allendale, offers extra space which will allow the horse sections more rings and extra classes.
In honour of the new venue, Lady Tessa Allendale, has been invited to judge the Light Horse Championship.
:: THE times of the extra trains will be: 10.36am from Newcastle (arriving at Stocksfield 11.02am); 11.30am east from Hexham (arriving at 11.46am); 2.35pm from Newcastle (arriving at 3.02pm); 3.33pm east from Hexham (arriving at 3.46pm).