New Washington Metro Loop 'would be worth £90 million a year to North East economy' - IF it ever gets the green light from travel bosses

A new Metro line linking Washington to Sunderland and Newcastle could be worth an extra £90 million to the North East economy.

That’s the message from campaign group Transport North East as it lays out a business plan for the £700 million-plus scheme for approval by the North East Joint Transport Committee.

Known as the ‘Washington Metro Loop’, the project – which would see a new Metro connection from Pelaw to South Hylton via Washington, with stations proposed in Follingsby, Washington North and Washington South – forms part of a wider project to reopen the disused Leamside Line in full.

Hide Ad

The Business Case, which is part funded by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and Transport North East, says the line would:

*Generate £90 million per year in economic benefits to the region

*Create nearly 8 million extra passenger journeys a year

Hide Ad

*Reduce carbon emissions by nearly 87,000 tonnes a year by replacing nearly 1.7million car journeys annually – the equivalent of over half a million trees each year

*Give Washington - the fourth largest town without access to a rail service - new connections to Newcastle, Sunderland and Newcastle Airport.

Hide Ad
(from left) Catherine Massarella, Nexus Head of Network Development; Liz Twist, MP for Blaydon; North East Local Enterprise Partnership chair Lucy Winskill OBE; John Marshall, chair of the North East of England Chamber of Commerce; Transport North East managing director Tobyn Hughes; Sedgefield MP Paul Howell; Coun Martin Gannon; Sharon Hodgson MP; Northern Powerhouse Partnership Deputy Director Sarah Mulholland and CBI deputy director Matt Bratton with the Victoria Viaduct which carries the Leamside Line
Read More
Work to begin on £3million walking and cycling improvements around South Shields...
Hide Ad

The group forecasts the Loop will cost £745 million in total, including the cost of new Metro trains to support extra services on the line.

Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson MP has been campaigning to reopen the Leamside Line for 17 years and believes the case is growing increasingly strong.

Hide Ad

“Washington is the fourth largest town in the UK not to be connected to a rail network,” she said.

The complete Leamside line
Hide Ad

"The people of Washington and Sunderland deserve access to high quality transport to aid economic growth and job prosperity not only within Washington but also across the region.

"The new Washington Metro Loop will do just that, and I am delighted that we are one step closer to re-opening the Leamside Line in full.”

Hide Ad

Martin Gannon, chairman of the North East Joint Transport Committee and leader of Gateshead Council, said: “Successive governments have committed to the delivery of Northern Powerhouse Rail in full and that includes reopening the Leamside Line.

"The North East is united in one voice and our message to the Government is clear – the Leamside Line is a win for the North East, a win for the UK and a win for this Government.

Hide Ad
The new route for the Washington Metro Loop

“The Washington Metro Loop is a strategically important development for the area and I would urge the Government to come to the table and work with us to deliver this project.

Hide Ad

North East of England Chamber of Commerce chairman John Marshall said reopening the Leamside Line would drastically increase capacity on the region's railways.

"The reopening of the Leamside Line and, in particular, this second phase, is strategically important to the growth of new and existing businesses within the region,” he said.

Hide Ad

"The Washington Metro Loop provides new business and local people with additional links to the International Advanced Manufacturing Park and Follingsby Park as well as vital access to labour markets within the wider North East including the major development at Port of Tyne – a gateway for regional growth, development and transformation.”

Sharon Hodgson MP in front of Victoria Viaduct.