Dubbed the “North Sea Coast” route, SENRUG wants to see the existing Metrocentre to Morpeth rail link extended north to Berwick, with Belford and Beal (for Lindisfarne) stations re-opened en route.

The group is working with sister campaign group RAGES north of the Scottish border who are campaigning for a similar service from Berwick to Edinburgh, and the two campaign groups believe the new passenger routes should be linked together to create a new local rail service between Newcastle and Edinburgh, calling at all stations. North of the border stations at Reston and East Linton would also be re-opened.

There are lots of intercity services running non-stop between Newcastle and Edinburgh, but SENRUG believes a local service serving all the smaller stations is needed too.

Dennis Fancett, Chair of SENRUG said: “A through service such as this would create access to jobs and universities at either Newcastle or Edinburgh and boost the economies of the smaller towns and villages in both Northumberland and southern Scotland. We particularly feel there is an urgent need for a regular throughout the day service to Pegswood and Widdrington in the first instance, which could be delivered in advance of the full scheme.”

The new route would follow the Northumberland and Scottish coast paths for much of its route as well as connecting with St Cuthbert’s Way, St Oswald’s Way, The John Muir Way and The Southern Upland Way, and is expected to be a major boost to tourism in both Northumberland and southern Scotland.

“This is arguably the most scenic rail line in the entire UK, with glorious coastal views for much of its length. But you can’t get a local train along it. Neither can you travel easily from one local community to another. We would seek to form a Community Rail Partnership to market the route once the trains start running” added Dennis.

“With modern, electric, local trains now able to run at 100 miles per hour, the new service would only need a few extra passing loops to enable non-stop and limited stop trains to overtake them. Department for Transport grants are available towards the cost of re-opening the stations, and as a first step we are pressing Northumberland County Council to commission a study to confirm the feasibility of the scheme. In Scotland, this work has already been done and if a local service would work for Scotland, then it should do so for Northumberland as well.”

SENRUG are urging those who support the scheme to join their group. “The more people we speak for, the louder our voice is heard” said Dennis. Details are available at www.senrug.co.uk.