Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tees Valley Metro


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.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hope the metro is authorised, however, about time they stopped at DTV Airport as the specific airport bus service is unused & clogs up Yarm Road. Hope Dinsdale gets more of a service than now. Also, The Airport should have railway sidings for the new freight park to take road wagons of the A66 & Darlington Bypass.

ian white said...

Yes Nick the present train only stops at TEESIDE airport once a week on a sunday and the shuttle bus to said TEESIDE airport is always empty, why did the train stop, stopping there in the first place?

Steve said...

Oh, thought the train missed out the airport completely. It used to stop there during the week around 3 or 4 years ago.

Its still a fair way across to the terminal from the platform though.

miketually said...

Why does the new metro service need a new line building parallel to the current line (at least that's now I understand it)? Why not just invest all the cash in newer trains and stations for the existing line?

It's shocking that someone who lives in Bishop and works in Darlington doesn't have using the train to commute as a viable option.

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab said....

For many years I have supported a Tees Valley Metro. I have seen successful Metros in West Yorkshire, Paris and Toronto, Canada.

There are over 700,000 people living in the Tees Valley. So the need is there.

To be successful the Metro must be easilly accessible for people who want to use it and connect communities. It's no good someone in say Haughton West having to access the Metro at Bank Top. Perhaps North Road Station? Again the infrastructure will have to be put in to enable people to access the Metro easily.

Also the Metro must be be competatively priced with car use, enable people where they want to go quickly and when they want to travel. It should also connect up with the buses - a metro interchange and bus station in Darlington perhaps?

I often wonder if the current line to Teessside from Darlington is relevant any more. Yes it is for people who live in Middleton St. George and Hurworth. However the main route of entry to Teesside from Darlington has moved and is now the A66. So maybe the main route of the Metro should follow the A66 with a branches down to Dinsdale and Teesside Airport.

miketually said...

I get the impression that North Road Station won't be connected to the line, under the current plans.

Ian White said...

Annonymous
How is the current line relevant to Hurworth it dosent stop here the Stations been closed for decades?

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes.....

I meant the current line to Teesside is still relevant for commuters from Hurworth because they could still use Dinsdale Station.

I know the 225s hurtle through Hurworth Place, or as it was called many years ago, Croft Station on the main line.

Darlington Councillor said...

Thanks for all the comments. Ian - the service to Durham Tees Valley Airport stopped I think in the late 80's or early 90's. There is a token ostop once a week which keeps the station open.

Together with the airport authorities we have tried promoting the shuttle bus, which takes people directly to the airport terminal. For all the negative comment about it, it has functioned quite well (most people don't see the passengers who are collected at the railway station, and think the service is poorly-patronised from what they see in the town centre.

Still a light rail option would potentially allow direct access to the terminal. This is still being worked on, as I understand it.

Mike - the light rail system would use the existing track. The finance for the scheme would come from re-focusing the sizeable subsidy currently paid for heavy rail, which would allow for an expanded light rail system.

You're right - at the moment the scheme doesn't include North Road station or the rest of the line to Bishop Auckland. This is now being addressed with the sponsors of the light rail idea, Tees Valley Regeneration.

Alan - for the reasons I've indicated, the light rail system, if it goes ahead, will have to follow the Teesside line as this is the guarantor of the funding for the scheme. I take your point about easy access, and several new stations may be created, including one at Morton Palms. Perhaps the way forward will be to have direct buses (and cycle routes, Mike) to the larger stations, to enable better access.

Just to confirm - this proposal is by no means certain to go ahead, but I know it has been favourably received, and I'm very quietly hopeful that progress will be made.

Ian White said...

Annonymous
Dinsdale station is miles away by car but by bus its 1 or 2 busses depending on time its quicker to go to Bank Top via DFC/Neasham Road so sorry dont see why anyone from Hurworth would commute by Dinsdale!

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab says....

You are right Ian. Bank Top is closer to Hurworth than Dinsdale Station. I shouldn't have used Hurworth to illustrate my point about commuting by rail to Teesside. The words hole and digging come to mind!!

terence said...

The problem with this plan is that the "Tees Valley Metro" doesn't actually include all of the Tees Valley. Major population area's of the Tees Valley will miss out, namely Hartlepool and other towns North of the Tees. Bishop Auckland should not be included in these plans, as far as I am aware, neither Durham County Council or Wear Valley DC have put money into these plans and they are certainly not part of the Tees Valley area.

This planned metro system is going to take 10 years before we see any sign of it and it is a very watered down plan which won't serve the are very well at all.

Anonymous said...

One contributor said "For many years I have supported a Tees Valley Metro. I have seen successful Metros in West Yorkshire, Paris and Toronto, Canada. There are over 700,000 people living in the Tees Valley. So the need is there. "

Well his is exactly what the TV Metro isn't!!!. It's being spun as a Metro and people will support the idea because they won't study the proposal, they'll expect it is like the Tyne & Wear Metro. And they will be bitterly disappointed when it starts operating. All this £140 Million capital amounts to is upgrade of a few existing stations, repositioning of others , all on the existing lines. If the Trains aren't going anywhere different, how will it tempt people to stop using their cars an switch to rail? Where is the evidence that it will relieve road congestion? Running extra trains sounds good but many of them are nearly empty in between rush hours anyway currently. Please raise awareness amongst people about what is actually proposed for £140 million and get them to demand that new rail lines are built to serve large communities and employment centres that don't have any rail links instead of praising this carpet baggers swindle of a scheme.