On Wednesday September 3rd at 7pm I have the 30 minute Adjournment debate in the Commons; I applied in July to the Speaker and this debate was recently granted. The key issues I propose to raise I have been discussing with key local activists over the summer, including several members of the Tyne Valley Rail Users Group, and other activists concerned about the state of our roads in Northumberland. We also have a number of key bus issues to raise.
On trains I will be focusing on the rail infrastructure in Northumberland, focusing on the Tyne Valley Line between Newcastle and Carlisle, but I will also be addressing many other rail issues like the Gilsland and Bardon Mill stations.
Locals all know that with the Tyne Valley line:
- the rolling stock is old, there are issues on fares and and other issues and there is no Wi-Fi on the trains; we feel that the service is the poor relation of the Northern Train Network, notwithstanding a passenger increase; there are concerns as to the Northern Rail Franchise Consultation - noone wants to see lesser services.
I will be asking about the possible Designated Community Rail Service and what this means, in reality.
- Gilsland Station rebuild: this is presently in the GRIP system but needs more Northumberland county council and network rail support. The old station was disbanded many years ago. Lots of the infrastructure remains and it would provide a massive boost to jobs, tourism and infrastructure if it were reopened. I am a big supporter.
- Rail crossing improvements – a Network Rail issue but we are looking to explore the future upgrades and improvements programme.
- I will also be raising the bridges controversy, notably the Bardon Mill proposed bridge, which I visited last week and spoke to residents and members of the Parish Council about.
Finally on trains I shall discuss the fact that the North East has no Oyster Card system for an integrated transport network system, as London and elsewhere does have and why this is the case.
On Roads I shall be raising A 69 Improvements west of Hexham leading to the Cumbrian Border. It is an accident black spot and I saw the Secretary of State for Transport on this issue last session; clearly money is tight but we want to know that we are in the queue for upgrades. Similar comments apply regarding the A696 safety improvements north of Ponteland. We will also be raising traffic safety elsewhere in Northumberland, and continuing to push for the A1 upgrades.
As always please get in touch with your comments, requests and suggestions. I have received many comments thus far over the last few weeks on many of these issues. All thoughts very welcome.