At a lively meeting of the town's Transport Forum last night (which I chair) some important questions about the Tees Valley Metro were asked.
As I've blogged before, the Tees Valley Regeneration have submitted a bid to government for £141.9 million to create a "world class" metro system for the Tees Valley. A typical journey from Darlington to Saltburn would take 45 minutes – 11 minutes faster than existing trains - and that is with five new stops serving major regeneration and employment sites, including Durham Tees Valley Airport.
An important issue raised last night however was the future of the Darlington to Bishop Auckland line. It has suffered from chronic under-investment in the past, and could be put at risk if the suggested Tees Valley Metro scheme stops at Darlington. An extension to Bishop Auckland could help address many of the congestion issues on West Auckland Road and North Road.
We'll do what we can to ensure that the Bishop Auckland to Darlington element isn't forgotten as plans develop.