Train bosses are cracking down on late-night weekend revellers by policing trains between Newcastle and Carlisle.
Following a lengthy campaign by Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman a new pilot project will see British Transport Police boarding trains between the two cities and travelling on both the 7.25pm and 9.18pm departures on a Friday and Saturday night.
It is hoped disorder on these routes will be prevented by the British Transport Police (BTP) presence.
With 37 reported offences since 2012 on this route and 29 prosecutions, Mr Opperman says this has been an ongoing problem.
“We have all had to deal with disruptive drunks from time to time,” he said. “Yet, passengers on the Northern rail line from Newcastle to Carlisle have suffered.
“The 19.25 and 21.18 departures on a Friday and Saturday night are often marred by those who drink to excess.
“Constituents have continually raised this issue with me and I hope we have now got a solution.”
Malcolm Chainey of the Tyne Valley Rail users group says many of his members who have experienced disorder on the Northern rail route, swear they will never travel on it again.
Mr Opperman recently met with Eddie Wylie, superintendent for the BTP and Martyn Guiver, head of crime management at Northern Rail.
Mr Wylie confirmed that BTP was keen to carry out the three-month pilot project and look to develop a longer-term solution to the problem.
He said: “We had a very constructive meeting with Mr Opperman and are committed to working closely with him, the Tyne Valley Rail Partnership, Northern Rail and the local community to continue to drive down anti social behaviour on the route.
“BTP has been committing resources to this route for some time and is looking to develop a longer-term problem solving strategy.
“We have already tackled some of the issues previously reported to us, which has included increased police patrols as well as a number of other initiatives, both of which are proving to be extremely successful.
“We have recorded 37 crimes on this route since January 1 2010, 78% of which have been detected. Until a recent incident we haven’t had any further incidents reported to us which is great news.”
Campaign to keep train line public
Rail campaigners will be protesting today at stations up and down the East Coast Main Line against Government plans to re-privatise the service later this year.
Campaigners will be at 11 stations along the line – including Durham and Newcastle – giving out postcards and talking to commuters about the campaign to keep the East Coast public.
Last October ministers announced plans to re-privatise the East Coast Main Line – the only remaining publicly-owned railway in the UK. Since then more than 60 MPs from the Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and Scottish National (SNP) parties have signed an early day motion (EDM) calling on the Government to keep the line public.