RAIL campaigners in Northumberland have welcomed a new inter-city train timetable which they claim will deliver a much better deal for local travellers.
Members of the South East Northumberland Rail Group (SENRUG) say they are “delighted” with the East Coast trains timetable which will begin in May.
They have welcomed earlier, later and more frequent trains linking Morpeth and London, and say the new timetable is good news for local business people visiting the capital.
The timetable gives early morning passengers the opportunity to reach London by 9.40am on weekdays, by taking a new “early bird” service from Morpeth at 6.35am and changing at Newcastle.
Yesterday SENRUG chairman Dennis Fancett said: “This is a full hour earlier than the current earliest possible arrival at 10.40am.
“What’s more, there is a later return service too. From May, passengers won’t need to leave London until 6.30pm, or 7.30pm on Friday, giving business people two extra hours in London.’’
The new timetable has three weekday Morpeth to London services – at 6.35am, 7.07am and 7.53pm – compared to the current one. Northbound, Morpeth now gets two Monday to Thursday trains from London instead of one, with an additional later train on Friday. The town also benefits from three Sunday trains from London instead of the current one.
SENRUG says it is delighted with the results of lobbying carried out by local rail user groups, because earlier drafts of the new timetable showed Morpeth losing out, with longer journey times,
Mr Fancett said: “What this shows is that our voice has been heard. If ever there was evidence that it is worth joining a group like SENRUG, then this is it. Our hours of volunteer effort, attending meetings, writing letters and engaging MPs have been effective. East Coast has listened and the result is a much improved inter-city service for Morpeth Station.”