Opportunities to protect and improve rail services in the region must be maximised, councillors heard this week.
Members of Durham County Council’s Cabinet were asked to agree a series of key messages setting out how the authority will work to support and promote the interests of the rail industry when they met on Wednesday (July 11).
Among the priorities is the need to lobby government for investment in the East Coast Main Line.
The line is currently operating at or near to capacity and infrastructure improvements are urgently needed if new services are to be introduced.
The report suggests that the reinstatement of the Leamside Line would enable the East Coast Main Line to be expanded to four tracks.
The paper also stresses the importance of working with partners to seek greater influence over how the new franchise for the East Coast operates.
And there is commitment to enhancing the level of services provided from Chester-le-Street station.
Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “Good transport links are vital to the success of County Durham and the wider region.
“Improvements to rail travel can help to support our ambitions for transformational economic growth, opening up new opportunities for businesses and increasing accessibility for local residents.
“It is incredibly important, therefore, that we seek reassurances regarding the future of the East Coast Main Line, for example, for the benefit of passengers but also the wider general public.
“We need stability and certainty and I would appeal to the government to make a long-term commitment to retaining the line in public ownership in order to provide greater accountability, better value for money and an improved service that puts people before profits.”