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King of Bernicia
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The North East England £6 Billion "Regionwide" Transport Proposals . . .


The £6 billion shopping list that would transform transport in the North East

xtending the Tyne and Wear Metro, improved links to Newcastle International Airport and a host of road upgrades are among the proposals in a £6.1 billion wish list drawn up by North East leaders.

According to transport bosses, the money is needed to pay for a raft of projects up to 2035 and which they say are needed to cut carbon emissions, improve health and make travel safer.

It is also hoped the improvements will boost the economy, with estimates suggesting better links between Ashington, Blyth and Newcastle alone could be worth an extra £50 million.

A list of ‘shovel ready’ schemes to get spending off the ground and prepare the way for grander projects includes:

  • An overhaul of public transport ticketing, partly to reflect changing habits post-Covid
  • ‘Bus, Cycles & Electric Vehicles only’ lanes across Wearside
  • A new bus station and multi storey car park in Bishop Auckland
The proposals, many of which have been talked about for years, have been drawn together in a single North East Transport Plan.


On Tuesday the North East Joint Transport Committee, made up of the leaders of the region’s seven local authorities, is expected to approve the latest draft of the document be sent out for public consultation later this month.


Dozens more programmes and upgrades have been identified which could be completed in just five years, including:

  • Reopening the Northumberland Line to rail services
  • Refurbishing the Airport Metro station and improving park and ride facilities at Jarrow and East Boldon stations
  • A footbridge between the Stadium of Light and the former Vaux Brewery site, in Sunderland


  • The reopening of the Leamside Line
  • A new Metro station at Mill Lane, in Hebburn
  • A new Shields Ferry enter service and the replacement of the south bank landing, in South Shields
  • New bus stations for Alnwick and Blyth, in Northumberland
  • The dualling of the A66 and a Barnard Castle Bypass
Beyond this it is hoped new Metro stations could be slated to open at Ouseburn and Boldon, with the network extended to include Silverlink, in North Tyneside, and a ‘Leamside and Wearside Loop’ extending coverage in Sunderland and South Tyneside.

We aren't being extravagant' – North East leaders demand 'fair share' in £6bn transport dream
Local leaders have compiled a wish list of almost 300 upgrade schemes that they believe will transform the area by 2035 – including multiple extensions to the Tyne and Wear Metro
There are new hopes of a £6 billion transport revolution for the North East that could reverse decades of “chronic” underinvestment and catapult the region towards a greener and more prosperous future.
Local leaders have compiled a wish list of almost 300 upgrade schemes that they believe will transform the area by 2035 – including multiple extensions to the Tyne and Wear Metro, a series of major road improvements, and dramatic cycling infrastructure advances.
The government is being urged to stump up funding for the “ambitious but deliverable” project, which local politicians say would simply mean the North East finally getting its “fair share”.
Gateshead Council leader Martin Gannon hailed draft plans, which would cost an initial £6.1 billion, as the “first time the whole of the region has come together” to produce a comprehensive vision for the future.
Coun Gannon, who chairs the North East Joint Transport Committee (JTC), added: “Despite Covid and the massive economic impact that will be long felt, it is clear that the government needs to invest to encourage and support recovery and regeneration across the whole of the UK.
“We have put forward a really clear, strategic, thought-out vision for the North East that would massively boost the economy and I think the government would listen to that.

“It is a long-term investment to get the economy moving again, so I think there is real reason to be optimistic.
“Historically the North East of England has not had a fair share of national resources.
“Even if there was just a levelling out of that, we would be getting resources way in excess of £6 billion.
"We are not being extravagant in asking for a programme of investment of £6 billion in our transport infrastructure… the chronic underinvestment needs to be addressed.”


Analysis by IPPR North suggests that in 2019, planned government spending on transport in London was £3,636 per person – seven times more than the £519 per head in the North East.
The colossal list of 296 schemes on the new wish list, many of which have long been in the works but have now been compiled in a new North East Transport Plan, includes many ‘shovel-ready’ ideas that could begin imminently, such as:
  • The £40 million refurbishment of the Tyne Bridge and Central Motorway;
  • The introduction of a single-ticket system shared across the region’s different public transport options;
  • New 'bus, cycles and electric vehicles only' lanes across Wearside;
  • An expansion of electric vehicle charging points;
  • Improved cycling and walking routes in Newcastle city centre, Gateshead, and North Tyneside.


How the North East's rail network could look in the future
Projects earmarked for delivery in the next five years include:
  • Restarting passenger rail services on the Newcastle to Northumberland railway line, connecting the city centre to Ashington and Blyth;
  • Refurbishing the Airport Metro station, introducing a new Metro service from the Airport to the Coast, and improving park and ride facilities at Jarrow and East Boldon stations;
  • Opening the Blyth relief road;
  • A footbridge between the Stadium of Light and the old Vaux Brewery site in Sunderland.
Within ten years, it is hoped that there will also be progress on:
  • The dualling of the A1 north of Newcastle and the A66;
  • A19 junction improvements and capacity upgrades in North Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham;
  • East Coast Mainline capacity improved north of Newcastle to allow more frequent local stopping services;
  • Reopening the Leamside railway line between Pelaw junction and Tursdale;
  • New Metro stations at Mill Lane in Hebburn, Murton Gap and Killingworth Moor.
  • The Shields Ferry being replaced with new vessels;
  • New bus stations for Alnwick and Blyth, plus refurbished interchanges in Gateshead and Heworth.
Check traffic and road closures near you by typing in your postcode

And the wish list for beyond the next 10 years includes:
  • A Metro extension to the west of Newcastle and across to Team Valley and the Metrocentre;
  • A new Metro line through Cobalt and the Silverlink;
  • A new ‘Leamside and Wearside loop’ on the Metro;
  • New Metro stations at Ouseburn and Boldon;
  • A new road crossing over the Tyne at Blaydon;
  • Extension of mainline railway services to Newcastle Airport.
Coun Gannon called for ministers to “fast track” schemes such as East Coast Mainline to allow for more and faster trains and reopening the Leamside rail line to kickstart the region's post-Covid recovery.
He added: “We have about 42 miles of motorway in the North East. Most of it is a two-lane motorway built in the 1960s, the A1 (M) from Scotch Corner to White Mare Pool.
“The Metro system is fantastic, it is absolutely brilliant, the pioneers who came up with that vision persuaded the government to make those investments and that is to be celebrated.
“But that was 40 years ago. The initial vision was never followed through, it was never expanded, and it needed to be.
“It needed to connect to Durham, Chester-le-Street, Washington, south east Northumberland, the Tyne Valley, because otherwise it becomes a clogged-up system and you end up with massive congestion on the roads. People travel in from those areas by car because they have no alternative.”
JTC members will discuss the draft plans on Tuesday, before an eight-week public consultation is launched.

Always nice to see such things getting attention, even if it is just all talk that is unlikely to go anywhere and the chronicles usual ugly map and all that
I've often thought that we need a proper pressure group for this given the success SENRUG has had.

I do wonder with some of the ideas here though.... you often hear of a direct route through Gosforth to the coast but I've never seen anything about this actually being worthwhile or planned beyond the line being there so its possible.
Also on Leamside, I've never liked the idea of linking up Washington by following Leamside directly, it misses the entire town. South Leamside connecting Sunderland back to Durham though is a thumbs up. Quite a mix of ideas good and bad. Some pretty attainable ones like Ouseburn metro station.
 

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Always nice to see such things getting attention, even if it is just all talk that is unlikely to go anywhere and the chronicles usual ugly map and all that
I've often thought that we need a proper pressure group for this given the success SENRUG has had.

I do wonder with some of the ideas here though.... you often hear of a direct route through Gosforth to the coast but I've never seen anything about this actually being worthwhile or planned beyond the line being there so its possible.
Also on Leamside, I've never liked the idea of linking up Washington by following Leamside directly, it misses the entire town. South Leamside connecting Sunderland back to Durham though is a thumbs up. Quite a mix of ideas good and bad. Some pretty attainable ones like Ouseburn metro station.
  • The £40 million refurbishment of the Tyne Bridge and Central Motorway; Isn't this paid for from a separate fund? Surely the LA needs to spend this. It is not capital infrastructure, but maintenance.
  • The introduction of a single-ticket system shared across the region’s different public transport options;
  • New 'bus, cycles and electric vehicles only' lanes across Wearside;
  • An expansion of electric vehicle charging points;
  • Improved cycling and walking routes in Newcastle city centre, Gateshead, and North Tyneside. Not if it means more JDS/Askew Road debacles
  • Restarting passenger rail services on the Newcastle to Northumberland railway line, connecting the city centre to Ashington and Blyth; Absolutely essential
  • Refurbishing the Airport Metro station, introducing a new Metro service from the Airport to the Coast, and improving park and ride facilities at Jarrow and East Boldon stations Not sure if it is so essential having coast to Airport? Probably be better trying to get some kind of express service from Newcastle - Interchange to Coast- Airport going.
  • Opening the Blyth relief road;
  • A footbridge between the Stadium of Light and the old Vaux Brewery site in Sunderland. Absolutely essential
  • The dualling of the A1 north of Newcastle and the A66; I'll believe it when i see it
  • A19 junction improvements and capacity upgrades in North Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham;
  • East Coast Mainline capacity improved north of Newcastle to allow more frequent local stopping services; Hallelujah! Stations at Heaton- Coast Road- Benton- West Moor- Killingworth- Dudley- Cramlington- and on to Northumberland Coast. Alnwick terminus?
  • Reopening the Leamside railway line between Pelaw junction and Tursdale; Absolutely essential
  • New Metro stations at Mill Lane in Hebburn, Murton Gap and Killingworth Moor.
  • The Shields Ferry being replaced with new vessels;
  • New bus stations for Alnwick and Blyth, plus refurbished interchanges in Gateshead and Heworth. Gateshead interchange redevelopment is a huge opportunity, and to tailor it to the ongoing occasionally ludicrous plans for the sphincter like function of traffic management to Newcastle could really save the town
  • A Metro extension through West Newcastle and across to Team Valley and the Metrocentre; Someones been reading the Rail transport thread at the NE CA. This to me makes the most sense. Using the TYNE and Wear metro to consolidate and link up all key areas within the conurbation and make it feel like one big place, than LA's that happen to bounder each other.
  • A new Metro line through Cobalt and the Silverlink; As above, but with less gusto. This should be housing, and transition these out of town offices to high rise in Newcastle/Gateshead centre, or North Shields/ Whitley Bay med size offices that contribute rather than suck out life from our Tyneside's 'boroughs' economy
  • A new ‘Leamside and Wearside loop’ on the Metro; To me this is really not necessary. Areas served by this are by in large huge indistrial complexes or on the edge of low density sporadic housing estates designed for the motorcar. To me it would be far better to link up Durham to Sunderland and provide mainline services so Sunderland gets much better ECML access, and allow for a heavy rail commuting service on Leamside line with a Washington/Nissan Parkway that allows express access to Newcastle once you drive a short distance from your Washington home to the parkway. I can't see workers for IAMP or Nissan getting the train in and walking to the front door of these complexes when the distance from your punch in clock to your place on the assmebly line is miles walk anyway.
  • New Metro stations at Ouseburn and Boldon; Ouseburn oh yes.
  • A new road crossing over the Tyne at Blaydon;
  • Extension of mainline railway services to Newcastle Airport. Seperate route from Metro? We need to have a sub 20mins link between airport and city ideally or else we aint competitive with other cities
What is missing from this list?

Does Teesside even exist anymore? They seem to be skewing off on their own direction, but despite jokes of smog and other unpleasantness they are our 'other conurbation' in the region and would like to see more link up between the two (I know, its a miracle the NE so far have produced a singular transport plan). What about an express Newcastle-Chester Le Street-Durham-Ferryhill-Stockton-Boro rail service to connect up our region's major population hubs (sorry Sunderland but have other plans for you)?

Sunderland suffers enormously from being a halt on a branch line rather than a spur on a mainline. Whatever happens with HS2, LNER is likely to become a more intercity than 'get your business arse to Achievement City' people carrier and so having LNER services that have a Darlo-Durham-Sunderland-Newcastle service other than just a ECML service would be so much better for the prosperity of the city. Given the incredible transformation and proposals for Vaux and stadium site, the city needs its own ambition met.

Will a West End Metro extension have to follow the Scotswood line then loop back via Blaydon to serve the MC and Team Valley? It would likely be better to build a new bridge between Newcastle city centre and MC and link them much better. I'd divert heavy rail stopping services from Newcastle- MC- (Bensham Chord) Team Valley- A1 park and ride- ECML stopping service. This would also speed up the Tyne Valley service by avoiding Bensham and KE Bridge congestion.
I'd also have a Metro serving Prudhoe- Wylam- Stella- Blaydon- MC- Dunston- Bensham- Askew Road- High Level Bridge- Central- Forth Banks- Elswick- Benwell- Scotswood in a backwards loop to serve 'West Tyneside'.

No mention of trams... guess that might be a step too far but it was a shame the Metro wasn't quietly shifted with rolling stock to be streetcar compatible and offer Metro extensions on the road where previously they couldn't reach- looking at you Westgate Road beyond St. James!
 

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An Interesting paper from the NIC on how they plan to interpret 'levelling up' which I think provides useful contextual information.

The Commission has developed a framework that identifies three pathways through which infrastructure investment can help to achieve economic outcomes in different regional areas. These are: addressing constraints to growth; contributing to transformation; and universal provision.
Addressing constraints to growth is what the Green Book currently does well, and as NCT says it isn't regionally biased (indeed if anything the evidence suggests it is regionally biased against the south east). I'd presume that it is the "contributing to transformation" projects that wouldn't fly without the new approach. Effectively you can't model bums on seats for these projects etc. because the bum don't exist yet, but without the project you'll never get the development to justify the project. Presuming the Treasury will still want some kind of objective standard to assess projects against, I'd guess that what they will require is robust models of how much development could be unlocked by an intervention, and therefore what the value of the BCR will be when the infrastructure is complete. This would be the equivalent of the land-use plans NCT is talking about, but without having to wait for development to happen to release investment.

How that will be measured is an interesting question. The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework provides one possible approach, with regions performing a needs assessment and spatial planning exercise for themselves, and then using that to demonstrate future infrastructure needs. If we look at NPR that does imply some rather messy project designs, but within a single city-region/local authority I'd expect the planning system would shape rather more streamlined proposals. A spatial plan for the whole of the north and Midlands, or even England would probably be a better approach, as it would better shape inter-regional and national scale schemes, but the current government seems dead set against that.
 

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This is all noise that will simply mask the many years of indecision that is to come, either by design or by accident. Transport doesn't by itself generate land-use change - you need other policy measures to ensure it all fits together.

You can piss about with frameworks and criteria as much as you like, and at the end of the day the real question the Treasury will ask is 'how many trains am I building this line for and will I get an operating surplus or pay a subsidy, and are you confident?'. Without an overarching agglomeration based, detailed and credible land-use policy, the answer is going to be no and the Treasury will continue to sit on its hands.

Back in 2014 I warned that this northern powerhouse and devolution thing was a ruse to allow more years of indecision and the northern leaders were foolish to lap it up. I have been proved right and the same thing is happening again.

The only way is to set up regional assemblies for the North West, and for Yorkshire and Humber and give them GLA-type power over spatial planning. Or for central government to implement land-use and urbanisation policies from Westminster and provide confidence to itself that there will be bums on seats. The fact that the government is changing things to enable stuff it can already do shows that in reality it's not actually going to do anything. As with the Osborne devolution and northern powerhouse narrative, this is all designed to create the appearance of doing something to win votes without actually doing anything.
 

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This is all noise that will simply mask the many years of indecision that is to come, either by design or by accident. Transport doesn't by itself generate land-use change - you need other policy measures to ensure it all fits together.

You can piss about with frameworks and criteria as much as you like, and at the end of the day the real question the Treasury will ask is 'how many trains am I building this line for and will I get an operating surplus or pay a subsidy, and are you confident?'. Without an overarching agglomeration based, detailed and credible land-use policy, the answer is going to be no and the Treasury will continue to sit on its hands.

Back in 2014 I warned that this northern powerhouse and devolution thing was a ruse to allow more years of indecision and the northern leaders were foolish to lap it up. I have been proved right and the same thing is happening again.
I am wondering if we are too focused on transport and specifically rail transport in this discussion?

The articles also refer to education, hospitals and fibre broadband.

I fully take on board everything you are saying NCT, you are clearly very informed in this area, at least with regards rail and transport business cases.

I wonder if there is also a perception in some poorer areas that they are also lacking investment in health and educational facilities, maybe there is an opportunity to change how decisions are made in those sectors.

But I also agree 100% that for whatever reason we never seem to move closer to delivering any of this, I can see HS2 being finished in the west and NPR still being discussed at the most fundamental level.
 

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This is all noise that will simply mask the many years of indecision that is to come, either by design or by accident. Transport doesn't by itself generate land-use change - you need other policy measures to ensure it all fits together.

You can piss about with frameworks and criteria as much as you like, and at the end of the day the real question the Treasury will ask is 'how many trains am I building this line for and will I get an operating surplus or pay a subsidy, and are you confident?'. Without an overarching agglomeration based, detailed and credible land-use policy, the answer is going to be no and the Treasury will continue to sit on its hands.

Back in 2014 I warned that this northern powerhouse and devolution thing was a ruse to allow more years of indecision and the northern leaders were foolish to lap it up. I have been proved right and the same thing is happening again.

The only way is to set up regional assemblies for the North West, and for Yorkshire and Humber and give them GLA-type power over spatial planning. Or for central government to implement land-use and urbanisation policies from Westminster and provide confidence to itself that there will be bums on seats. The fact that the government is changing things to enable stuff it can already do shows that in reality it's not actually going to do anything. As with the Osborne devolution and northern powerhouse narrative, this is all designed to create the appearance of doing something to win votes without actually doing anything.
Perhaps, but it still has to be a functional process, because agencies are going to apply for funding using it. Do you seriously believe that the Chancellor is going to announce an infrastructure investment strategy next week and them implement a funding regime so broken that it won't let anything through? Now what he might say is "if you want to go down this path you need evidence of X, Y and Z", which most places find that they can't, but that's a problem with a solution.

Given that the government's preferred approach to English devolution is city-regional mayoral authorities, I think the likely remedy to the problem of aligning land use and 'transformational' infrastructure is the extension of London plan like powers to all the mayors. These could then produce robust documents relating to their local development need and potential that could be included in business cases. That would need a legal change to allow them to be imposed upon the constituent local authorities, but it would be a lot easier than bringing back regional devolution or adopting national spatial planning.

I guess we shall have to see what is actually announced next week.
 

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Agree with NCT, the problems aren't formulas or algorithms, it's with decisions makers - i.e. people. Elected politicians and officials, both in central government and regional and local administrations.

Re. London, remember it took a long time for there to be joined-up thinking and planning between transport, land, housing and development. Probably not until the 2010s, a good decade or more after TfL were created. The pieces were there with the mayor, a transport agency, a statutory requirement to develop a London-wide plan, officials working on development (even the old LDA) and so on, but getting it working took time. Indeed, for some years in the beginning TfL functioned like multiple independent businesses based on mode rather a single corporate umbrella group because that is how things had been for some years.

The north is in a worse position because it's a hodgepodge of administrations and bodies where powers and responsibilities are not clearly defined and/or transparent and with municipal rivalries and differing agendas in terms of spending and development strategies. In fact, London used to have the same problem in the period between the end of the GLC and mayor since transport and infrastructure strategies were in handled by the boroughs:

This following year the GLC was abolished and – although the London Regional Transport Group existed — planning was very fragmented across the 33 local authorities, to say the least. London Buses Limited had been formed to manage the bus network and London Underground Limited the Tube network. Overall transport strategy control lay with each of the individual boroughs and neighbouring boroughs often had different objectives and politics.

It’d been the intent of the government at that time to move powers away from a regional transport authority approach, and that had succeeded. But as a consequence a landscape that was really tough to navigate had emerged for everyone, not least developers. Projects straddling Camden, with its Labour council, and Westminster, with its Conservative leadership, became battlegrounds with each borough bidding for local funding and heading in its own direction. Whilst some boroughs championed the ‘freedom of the motorist’ others took the polarised opinion.
Northern cities and counties need some kind of (elected) authority/ies that has a legal requirement to develop land-use plans and also oversees transport agencies with the abilities to go to capital markets. Without that it's just the government promising jam tomorrow to get votes.
 

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  • The introduction of a single-ticket system shared across the region’s different public transport options;
This one is a great idea and will make public transport much better VFM for people who use more than one type of public transport and cross 'boundaries' between local authorities.

  • Improved cycling and walking routes in Newcastle city centre, Gateshead, and North Tyneside. Not if it means more JDS/Askew Road debacles
This one is sort of bizarre since Newcastle city centre and Gateshead have one of the most comprehensive sets of walking and cycling routes in the North East. Don't know if they gave any specific routes they had in mind.

  • New bus stations for Alnwick and Blyth, plus refurbished interchanges in Gateshead and Heworth. Gateshead interchange redevelopment is a huge opportunity, and to tailor it to the ongoing occasionally ludicrous plans for the sphincter like function of traffic management to Newcastle could really save the town
What would you like to see at Gateshead? I think the interchange itself still looks ok. Heworth is probably more desperate for a refurb.

  • A Metro extension through West Newcastle and across to Team Valley and the Metrocentre; Someones been reading the Rail transport thread at the NE CA. This to me makes the most sense. Using the TYNE and Wear metro to consolidate and link up all key areas within the conurbation and make it feel like one big place, than LA's that happen to bounder each other.
Would make a lot of sense although I do wonder about the future of the Metrocentre. That said if they press ahead with the Metro Green housing then the route will still be required.

  • Extension of mainline railway services to Newcastle Airport. Seperate route from Metro? We need to have a sub 20mins link between airport and city ideally or else we aint competitive with other cities
I think a separate route would be useful as an 'express' option to the Airport. I would imagine the cost will be pretty high.

It was interesting that the Chancellor talked about development proposals always favouring London and the South East due to economic value under the previous appraisal system. That was pretty obvious when they were prepared to spend billions on Crossrail and Crossrail 2 and the North East got pretty much nothing apart from new Metro trains.
 

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I'm hoping the single ticket system then comes in. I know London has the £1.50 scheme for 90 mins, but I'd be more than happy at £5 for all-day with improved Park & Ride to reduce inner-city traffic Also id love to see a new interchange built next to Gateshead Quays. Would allow access quickly to major roads. Metro & Regional Rail connections and puts it close to Quayside without crossing a major road.
 

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King of Bernicia
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Discussion Starter #10
The single ticket system is really needed.
Its always talked about actually extending the metro to the west end but even just making it so someone in Wallsend can get to a job in Denton (for example) without having to buy two different tickets and spend £8 would be great.
I'd like to see this extended beyond the usual Nexus area too, its just dire how much it costs to commute to the town from Derwentside.

I have to say it was nice to see some talk about how cost:benefit analyses screw the north. I found this a nice article on it eons ago:
Nonetheless its only talk for now. I don't trust it at all. Especially with the economic foundations of the country being such a state. Still, fingers crossed.
 

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Yep, single ticket is essential. Plus, some kind of off-peak family ticket would be important, too, because those single tickets can add up - and then taking the car seems a whole lot cheaper.

I'd be curious about the refurbishment of the Airport station, whether that would re-site it to prevent flooding and/or allow a potential Ponteland extension. Haven't seen anything concrete on this so far.
 

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This one is a great idea and will make public transport much better VFM for people who use more than one type of public transport and cross 'boundaries' between local authorities.
Not my field of expertise but absolutely yes. It harks back to a greater suggestion as to whether the North East should have its own 'TfNE' isolated from 'TfN'- would make certain sense to coordinate the regional parity of prices and maybe our own version of an Oyster Card, but then again is our region big enough? I'd say so, if we include overlap with Carlisle/Cumberland area, and parts of North Yorkshire on the ECML and Whitby railway. Probably similar size to whatever Wales has- certainly bigger than NI.

This one is sort of bizarre since Newcastle city centre and Gateshead have one of the most comprehensive sets of walking and cycling routes in the North East. Don't know if they gave any specific routes they had in mind.
I really wish they would just collate it into an easy read map that shows differing routes. It feels a mess of opportunistic cycle lanes that start, end and go nowhere. Again, a TfNE could really help.

What would you like to see at Gateshead? I think the interchange itself still looks ok. Heworth is probably more desperate for a refurb.
Gateshead Interchange feels far more 'grandiose' in original aspiration than it needs to be now. Is it not based on a flawed idea that people would get the bus to Gateshead, then hop off and onto the Metro for that short distance to Newcastle? When in reality they would just wait for one extra stop after the HLB anyway. I'm sure there are Gateshead suburb to Gateshead centre only buses perhaps. Really, the GI is just feeding into this idea that Gateshead is its own economic place when really it is part of a Greater Tyneside with Newcastle City Centre and Quayside the focus. It seems to me that the footfall starved actual High Street could have been a procession of stops rather than cluster them all together in a mass of tarmac.

The area between West St. and Windmill Hills forms a sort of 'Western Wall' to Gateshead Town Centre. It is a real shame Windmill Hills is not the park that compliments GTC rather than the hidden gem (perhaps overstating as the surrounding housing is awful) known to only few. GI, A184, and the dreary adobe coloured flats on Mulgrave Terrace just block out any enthusiasm for Gateshead. Is there not a way to integrate the ongoing traffic recirculation for Askew Road and provide a boulevard for some buses as well as a metro but reconfigure this entire block to enough more town centre living, leisure and link to Windmill Hills?


Would make a lot of sense although I do wonder about the future of the Metrocentre. That said if they press ahead with the Metro Green housing then the route will still be required.

The Metro Centre represents a huge banana skin for the economy of the region. Either it will tank and we will be left with a Dawn of the Dead remake set, or it will persevere and keep chipping away at Newcastle's city centre offering of retail/ leisure. Really, the two retail juggernauts of the region have to work together, so therefore, how we link these with transport is also important.

The congestion of the Western Bypass is also a huge detriment to redevelopment. Thinking less of the Metro Centre as a Shopping Centre and more of a mixed hub with a Rail station that all commuter and some intercity trains stop at, but also hardwired to the Metro system allowing free and easy access to Tyneside conurbation is critical.

And a bridge at Elswick would give a 5 minute travel time between Central and MC. As the crow flies the Metro Centre is actually ridiculously close to Newcastle. Its actually a km closer to Central Station than to GTC!


I think a separate route would be useful as an 'express' option to the Airport. I would imagine the cost will be pretty high.
I can't see how they could achieve this without a circuitous route via Benton or clogging up the Metro Airport line.

They have two expensive options for a new route that would be quicker than the current proposals.

1.) A new Metro extension from St. James that cut/fills past the Nun's Moor, then threads like a needle through Cowgate, Blakelaw and Kenton before re joining the Metro Airport line after running parallel with the Ponteland road.

2.) There is an old rail line that skirts the Werst perimeter of Newcastle near Walbottle that could be dug out. Gradients would be a killer. It could connect up to the Tyne Valley line.

Both of these really do not seem feasible. It seems to me to be far better to allow an express Metro to stop at Central-Monument-South Gosforth for Coast - Airport (or even just a straight Central-Airport Express)for maybe a 15 min connection?


It was interesting that the Chancellor talked about development proposals always favouring London and the South East due to economic value under the previous appraisal system. That was pretty obvious when they were prepared to spend billions on Crossrail and Crossrail 2 and the North East got pretty much nothing apart from new Metro trains.
I'm not sure I really trust Sunak. The Tory party are dismantling the 'Red Wall' of the North not through actions, but through bluster and spin while Labour is drifting away from its working class roots (towards becoming the Democrats like liberal-intellectual party). But I hope that bluster occasionally has to be met with action and while the North is destroyed by Boris's handling of Covid, and a militant Brexit, then the least they could do is sort us out some infrastructure so we can look after ourselves better.
 

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I'd be curious about the refurbishment of the Airport station, whether that would re-site it to prevent flooding and/or allow a potential Ponteland extension. Haven't seen anything concrete on this so far.
An extension to Ponteland would greatly increase passenger numbers on that route, as it is essentially carrying fresh air much of the time beyond Kingston Park.

  • Extension of mainline railway services to Newcastle Airport. Seperate route from Metro? We need to have a sub 20mins link between airport and city ideally or else we aint competitive with other cities


The main benefit to this would be in having through connections from other areas served by heavy rail. In terms of speed to the city centre, Metro is pretty good and could be further improved by the better acceleration and braking performance of the new fleet, and by adding barriers to the level crossings, as quite a bit of time is lost having to slow down for those currently, especially on the approach to Bank Foot from the Callerton Parkway direction.

No mention of trams... guess that might be a step too far but it was a shame the Metro wasn't quietly shifted with rolling stock to be streetcar compatible and offer Metro extensions on the road where previously they couldn't reach- looking at you Westgate Road beyond St. James!
I'm kind of glad about this. I think the current Metro network should actually be moved towards a heavy-rail compatible local rail system, rather than watered down in the other direction.

If at a later date we decide as a region we need trams, that can be a separate system with proper low floor vehicles - something that would be a massive advantage on the often narrow streets of the region.
 
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Absolutely agree with more emphasis needed on connecting Tees Valley to Tyneside by rail. For me this might be THE most significant element of a truly regional plan. And single ticketing but this has been the priority for 20 years, what can make it happen now?

Ponteland extension to Metro would be fab too.

The walking and cycling network points are lip service. I would strongly contest that cycle networks are good on Tyneside, they really aren't, some progress has been made on isolated very short stretches but they don't join up as it stands and the danger at the points where they dont put most people off undertaking any particular journey. But as others suggest in relation to network maintenance I dont think this is something for a regional plan unless its transformational and say for example its part of a Copenhagen-style vision of subregions connected by public transport and cycling. As usual its rather a long wishlist to appease all modes with no real framing as to what the key priorities / vision for the next 20 years - to tackle public health problems, climate change, the economy whatever. How will we travel in 10 or 20 years? Largely as we do now says the strategy.
 

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So £4bn levelling up fund for schemes that can be delivered before next election, that have support from local population and MP.

I see buses, minor road improvements and cycle paths happening with that.
Can't see any substantial rail scheme fitting that bill. Is there anything that's actually shove ready? I'm not sure if there's any electrification schemes that can be delivered before the next election.
 

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Can't see any substantial rail scheme fitting that bill. Is there anything that's actually shove ready? I'm not sure if there's any electrification schemes that can be delivered before the next election.
I think that's a dedicated funding stream for areas to bid for local projects. The mayoral areas are getting a 5 year funding settlement, although I can't work out from the document whether areas within mayoral areas are able to bid for levelling up projects too.

Found the key section:

The government is creating a new £4 billion Levelling Up Fund that will invest in local infrastructure that has a visible impact on people and their communities and will support economic recovery. Moving away from a fragmented landscape with multiple funding streams, this new cross-departmental fund for England will invest in a broad range of high value local projects up to £20 million, or more by exception, including bypasses and other local road schemes, bus lanes, railway station upgrades, regenerating eyesores, upgrading town centres and community infrastructure, and local arts and culture. It will be open to all areas in England and prioritise bids to drive growth and regeneration in places in need, those facing particular challenges, and in areas that have received less government investment in recent years. This fund will attract funding for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the usual way.
 

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Absolutely agree with more emphasis needed on connecting Tees Valley to Tyneside by rail. For me this might be THE most significant element of a truly regional plan. And single ticketing but this has been the priority for 20 years, what can make it happen now?

Ponteland extension to Metro would be fab too.

The walking and cycling network points are lip service. I would strongly contest that cycle networks are good on Tyneside, they really aren't, some progress has been made on isolated very short stretches but they don't join up as it stands and the danger at the points where they dont put most people off undertaking any particular journey. But as others suggest in relation to network maintenance I dont think this is something for a regional plan unless its transformational and say for example its part of a Copenhagen-style vision of subregions connected by public transport and cycling. As usual its rather a long wishlist to appease all modes with no real framing as to what the key priorities / vision for the next 20 years - to tackle public health problems, climate change, the economy whatever. How will we travel in 10 or 20 years? Largely as we do now says the strategy.
Wholly agree. It really feels like the Tees Valley region and 'North East' region are moving increasingly away from each other.

What we really want to avoid is a feeling of us vs them. Only one will win in that case so some sort of cross river chatter is necessary to ensure the rising tide is equal for all three river conurbations (apologies for stretching that analogy!)

On the one hand, there is potential for commuter services on upgraded Leamside/Stillington Line to link NCL-Tees V but that isn't really going to improve travel times.

Durham enjoys close links with Newcastle because you use national fast rail to link the two places together. Is it not possible for TPE or post HS2 LNER/XC to stop at Boro then reverse out, up Stillington/ECML and have a Boro-Durham-Newcastle route for at least some of the trains.

I guess the real problem is connecting to Boro means you have to reverse in and out from Thornaby. There is no way to include it as a halt on a straight line and so why I presume Darlington has endured as Teesside's main station.

Would be keen to get any Teessider's thoughts on this?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Definitely. Us vs. them is the number one problem in the north.
Whether its Teeside vs. Tyne & Wear or Sunderland vs. Newcastle or further afield Liverpool vs. Manchester et al. This is where London pulls ahead whilst the north is left behind. Just madness that we ended up with a North of Tyne City area. Sunderland dropping out was kind of expected but Gateshead and South Tyneside too? Gateshead in particular being seperate is just insane, whatever happened to the early century days of massive cross-river cooperation?

We have to stop squabbling over the scraps and try to make the region as a whole better. Sure a job 5 minutes walk down the road is best for me but if its a choice of driving 30 mins to Sunderland or having to relocate to London then I'll take Sunderland thanks.

With Teeside and HS2 in the future....a Teeside Airport station seems to make the most sense to me, with HS2 then connecting with the existing network at about where Leamside meets the ECML- it can even effectively use an upgraded stretch of the Leamside south of Durham.
 
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