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Railwatch 071 - April 1997

North East

By Peter Atkinson

Music train Saltburn Line Users Group ran a "music train" in December over the line from Bishop Auckland to Saltburn, to publicise the line. A local jazz band and a supply of real ale ensured the success of the enterprise. Regional Railways were apparently delighted benificiaries as was Vaux Breweries. There was local radio interest in the event which the group intends to repeat, possibly on a bi-monthly basis.

Briefing The branch sent briefing papers to all the prospective parliamentary candidates in the North-East. In it we stressed the importance of rail in the impending general election.

Meetings Freight driver Lee Davies and W S Miller of North-east Railtours were speakers at the first branch meeting of the year on 18 January at the Swan at Heworth near Gateshead. The branch AGM was held on 15 March at Newcastle.

Comfort At Newcastle Central, GNER is planning a new on-platform passenger lounge. But the North-East Eurostar link was withdrawn with only 24 hours' notice.

Air link Passengers on Gill Airways are being encouraged to use the metro to get to Tyneside airport with a free journey throughout the network available on production of a boarding card and a voucher given out prior to landing. Available on selected flights, the deal ran for the first three months of the year.

Trusty action With a healthy membership of over 300, the Aln Valley Railway society campaign to reopen the four-mile Alnmouth-Alnwick branch continues apace. As well as qualified district council backing, main line operator GNER is interested in the project, which is envisaged as an up-to-date transport link as well as a preserved line. Despite facing the customary obstacles, including absent bridges, and a group of real-estate minded householders, the society announced its new trust status at its February fund-raising event at historic Alnwick castle. Contact: Mr W Stafford on 01665 604969.

Rundown fear Throughout the year, local councillors concerned about the evident running down of Dunston and Blaydon stations on the Newcastle-Carlisle line, repeatedly urged Regional Railways for improved services services to Dunston to no avail. Dunston has two trains daily each way and Blaydon has a similar level of service but it is separated from the town by a large dual carriageway. This could well spell doom for the station despite its potential. On the freight front, Jarrow oil terminal is to see increased traffic.

Note: contact details (postal and email addresses, along with telephone numbers) in old editions of Railwatch out of date. Click CONTACT US for latest contact details.

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