UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has unveiled investment plans to boost the rail network in the north-east region of the country.

Shapps emphasised the importance of the expansion of the UK rail network and how it will aid communities during his visit to Horden Peterlee. The UK Government expects the £10.55m Horden Peterlee project to be completed this year.

This region currently does not have any stations for a 20km stretch.  Following the completion of the project, one train per hour will run on the rail route along Horden Peterlee. They will stop at stations between Newcastle and Middlesbrough.

The UK Department for Transport’s New Stations Fund has also provided £4.4m for the project.

Additionally, the UK Government confirmed that it will create a £500m fund to restore previously cancelled routes. It expects this move to aid communities that do not currently have transport connections.

Shapps also visited Blyth to assess the possibility of resuming rail services on the route from Ashington to Blyth. This route was cancelled after the Beeching cuts.

Passengers accessing the London North Eastern Railway (LNER) can now benefit from single-leg fares. LNER began trialling these fares on routes from London to Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh last week.

Shapps said: “2020 will be a year of action on the railways with the north sitting at the heart of the improvements.

“Investing in new stations like Horden Peterlee will deliver more modern, reliable services for passengers. We are also ambitious to restore connections to communities who have lost out, and the Northumberland line has huge potential to deliver that.

“Our focus is levelling up infrastructure across the country, ensuring passengers see the benefit of new trains, new stations and fairer fares.”