I can’t believe I have never blogged about the South East Northumberland Rail User Group, or SENRUG. I must have done but can’t seem to find it. Perhaps I haven’t and if not, it is high time I did. I didn’t start blogging until 2012 and some of the things I am going to talk about happened before then, so that is my excuse.
SENRUG is an organisation that I have loosely been involved with for many years. By loosely I mean I pay my dues, I attend the very occasional meeting, have volunteered my services (without success) and retweet their messages. I should say very loosely.
I became interested over its plans to reinstate the old Blyth and Tyne line which connected what is now North Tyneside to Blyth and Ashington, with stations in between and joined the East Coast Main Line at Morpeth. Part of the old embankment runs past the bottom of my garden. The line was heavily reliant on mineral traffic and while some was subsumed into the Tyne and Wear Metro in the seventies, much of the rest was closed to passengers.
Back in 2008, the organization chartered a train to run round the line as part of its programme to persuade the powers that be to reopen it. I was on that train along with my family and many others. You can find more details about the charter here and it shows how long some of these things take.
Things have moved on however and a public consultation over the reopening of the line has just closed. From the SENRUG site: ‘Just to be clear, the consultation was over some of the design detail, particularly station design and level crossing changes, not about whether the scheme should or should not go ahead at all. Indeed, we remain hopeful that a government funding decision will be announced very shortly, and the timescale of trains running by 2023 will be achieved.’
Finally it all seems very exciting. An announcement would be a great start to the New Year.