A stretch of North East mothballed railway line is having the track lifted due to metal thieves targeting the line. The Leamside line branches off the East Coast main line at Tursdale and eventually joins the Newcastle Sunderland line at Pelaw. It was originally part of the early East Coast mainline but was by-passed in 1872.
Durham County Council and network Rail have hoped to re-open the line at some stage providing a financial case can be proven, but until that happens it has been decided to lift the track.
If the line is re-opened it will now require complete re-laying but engineers have said that this would have been the case anyway.
The line has been the target of metal thefts and vandalism since it was mothballed by British Rail in 1991 The route will be protected and no land sold off in the meantime.
A good source of information about the line can be found
A Network Rail spokesman said: “Network Rail is removing the redundant railway materials from the old Leamside branch.
“The remaining redundant assets have been subject to a high level of
thefts over the years, which at times have diverted the valuable
resource of the local police, British Transport Police and Network Rail
operational and maintenance staff.”
The line, which branches off the East Coast main line at Tursdale,
and runs through Belmont and West Rainton before continuing north
through Washington and Wardley to join the Newcastle to Sunderland line
at Pelaw, was mothballed by British Rail in 1991.
Network Rail say they have not ruled out the reopening of the line,
although without any track that would be a more costly exercise.
A spokesman said: “If in the future a business case and funding becomes available, reinstatement could be an option.
“Our engineers have advised that should this be an option, then a full renewal of all railway components would be required. “
Adrian White, head of transport at Durham County Council, said: “The
railway at Leamside remains an important priority for both the council
and Network Rail. While we are understanding of the current issues and
the need for Network Rail to address them we also understand the company
has no plans to sell the land and reopening it is not ruled out should
later reviews deem it appropriate.
“We will continue to work with Network Rail to ensure that any
reviews of the line are timely and in keeping with both parties needs
Read more: Journal Live http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-east-news/todays-news/2012/11/24/leamside-rail-line-s-reopening-scuppered-by-thieves-61634-32297097/2/#ixzz2DFXKOebx
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