Northumberland County Council (NCC) this week launched a £162m framework for the proposed works required to bring the 18-mile Northumberland line, between Ashington and Newcastle, back into service for passengers.

The four-year agreement involves the construction of six stations, three footbridges and car parks at the following locations: Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth Bebside, Newsham, Seaton Deleval, Northumberland Park, Palmersville Dairy, Chase Meadows & Hospital Crossing.

Currently only freight trains use the line but NCC hope it will be opened up to passengers by the end of 2023 for the first time in 60 years. It is anticipated that two trains per hour will run on Saturdays (6am-7.30pm) and one on Sundays.

Companies interested have until April 15th to register their interest with two contractors set to be appointed (primary and reserve) by August 1st.

The project’s future was secured at the end of January when it secured £34m in funding from the Department for Transport.

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