CAMPAIGN to OPEN GILSLAND STATION
Guy Opperman Meets Trains Minister
Guy Opperman, MP for Hexham, reported on a meeting with the Trains Minister in his blog on 17th March:
"This week in Westminster I sat down with Paul Maynard the Trains Minister to discuss the Gilsland Station rebuild project. This follows on extensive discussions with Network Rail and Northern rail. As everyone at the Campaign to Reopen Gilsland Station [COGS] knows this is a long journey . . ."
You can read the rest of this blog here: http://guyopperman.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/gilsland-station-meeting-with-trains.html
COGS Updates February 2017
Following on from the Network Rail report which gave the estimated cost of opening Gilsland Station as an astounding £28 Million, a great deal of work has been going on behind the scenes. The report concluded that a number of costly changes would be necessary to level crossings and associated signalling in the area as a direct result of the opening of the station. COGS have commissioned an analysis of the station re-opening proposal with special reference to these suggested changes from a Rail Operations Specialist, Andrew Doherty M.A. (Oxon), F.I.R.O.. He concludes that most of these changes are not necessary as a consequence of re-opening the station and should not be part of the station budget. This would reduce the predicted costs considerably. A meeting is now being arranged to discuss these findings with Network Rail.
The Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership (TVCRP) has been awarded funding from Northern’s Seedcorn Fund to commission a study into the business case for Gilsland Station. This will give us an indication as to how much expenditure could be justified. The report should be completed by the end of April.
COGS has purchased two people-counters which will be installed on the Hadrian's Wall Trail to record visitor movements in the immediate locality. These statistics are no longer collected by those responsible for the trail and will be vital information for the business case.
On the Move Again!
At long last the next stage of the process to open Gilsland Station on Hadrian’s Wall is underway and chugging along satisfactorily!
Thanks to sterling fundraising efforts by Northumberland County Council and COGS, and the enthusiastic backing of Gilsland’s local councillors and two MPs, Guy Opperman and Rory Stewart, the funds for the detailed research into the feasibility and practical considerations of building the station is now in place, so Network Rail can go ahead with the work.
Mr Dan Guiher has been appointed by Network Rail as project sponsor and he is now working with Stuart McNaughton of Northumberland County Council to define the scope of the GRIP study and this will be a significant step forward for the project.
Funding for this stage of the project has been secured by Northumberland County Council and COGS with funds coming from the Big Lottery Fund Awards for All, the Visit England Hadrian's Wall Connect Fund, the See More Cumbria and the Lake District small grants fund through Cumbria County Council and from Northumberland County Council.
Transport Minister visits Gilsland Station
Claire Perry, Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport came to see Gilsland Station for herself on 26th February. Guy Opperman MP, who had organised the visit, had also arranged for the Minister to meet Stephen Hind from Network Rail and Pete Myers from Northern – the company which currently runs the trains on the Tyne Valley Line. Councillor Swithenbank and Stuart McNaughton came from Northumberland County Council to offer their support and Malcolm Chainey and Robert Forsythe from Tyne Valley Users Group and Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership came to press the case for reopening the station.
Members of COGS were on hand to answer any questions about the campaign and the impact on the community and the whole visit was filmed by BBC Newcastle. The Minister was thrilled by the location of the station and its potential and had obviously made herself familiar with the problems people in the village are having due to the poor provision of public transport. Having all these influential people in room talking together was really productive and everyone left feeling very positive about the future of the station and the benefits that having a train service would bring to the village.
Update from Northumberland County Council
The latest update from Northumberland County Council is that Network Rail have confirmed that £30,000 is needed for the next phase of the study which is known as GRIP 3 (see our guide to the GRIP stages). The Transport Team at the Council are trying to find funding for this and are exploring a range of funding options. This will take time and they will let us know as soon as they have made progress.
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