A key milestone has been reached for the new Northumberland rail line

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A Transportation and Works Act (TWAO) Ordinance was required to authorize the closure of level crossings, the acquisition and use of land and certain works at key points along the route.

A month-long public inquiry into TWAO took place throughout November last year, led by a government-appointed inspector.

The investigation gave council, opponents and other interested parties a chance to have a say in the detailed plans.

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Work on the Northumberland line is due to start this summer.

The Secretary of State for Transport has now published his decision to issue the order.

The decision letter states: ‘The Secretary of State agrees with the Inspector that the Order forms an integral part of the scheme and that the restoration of passenger services on the Northumberland Line is of considerable importance to ensuring improved transport public services and contribute to an improvement of social and economic conditions in south-east Northumberland.

Northumberland County Council Leader Glen Sanderson, welcoming the announcement, said: “This is really positive news and yet another milestone that this fantastic project has reached.

“The public inquiry was extremely thorough and carefully considered all aspects of the project over several weeks.

“We can now look to the future with renewed confidence as we continue to drive this much-needed rail project forward.”

Major construction work on the Northumberland Line is set to begin this summer.

The scheme, which will see six new stations, provide 18 miles of improved track, access improvements and new signal locations, is expected to open by December 2023.

It is planned to operate a half-hourly passenger service between Newcastle and Ashington – stopping at Bedlington, Bebside, Newsham, Seaton Delaval and Northumberland Park en route.

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