Blyth and Tyne Railway
The Blyth and Tyne Railway is a railway in Northumberland, England, built chiefly to link the collieries in Ashington, Seghill and Blyth to the River Tyne at Percy Main. It later expanded to link Tynemouth and Newcastle upon Tyne, providing a passenger service to Whitley Bay. The railway operated under three names, 1840–47 the Seghill Railway, 1847–53 the Blyth, Seghill & Percy Main Railway, and 1853–74 the Blyth & Tyne Railway, until it was absorbed by the North Eastern Railway in 1874.
The line started on 1 June 1840 as a coal-carrying railway from Seghill to Percy Main, and developed in a number of stages. The line opened to passengers in 1841. It was extended from Seghill to Hartley in 1846, and from Hartley to Blyth in 1847. The line bought the Newsham to Bedlington line from Bedlington Coal Company in 1855 and extended the line to Morpeth in 1858, and created a separate line to North Seaton the next year. The Hartley to Tynemouth branch known as the Avenue Branch opened in 1860, and the line linking Backworth and Monkseaton opened in 1864. In 1872 the company moved the line from Whitley to Tynemouth nearer the coast and extended the North Seaton line to Newbiggin. In 1874 the line was absorbed by the North Eastern Railway (NER).
In 1904 the NER electrified the New Bridge Street — Backworth — Monkseaton — Wallsend sections of the B&T as part of the North Tyneside Loop of its Tyneside Electrics. The NER became part of the London and North Eastern Railway LNER in the 1923 grouping. The former NER became the North Eastern Region of British Railways on nationalisation in 1948. British Railways withdrew passenger services from the lines to Ashington and Blyth in 1964 and de-electrified the North Tyneside Loop in 1967. Most of the North Tyneside Loop was converted in 1977 to form the part of the new Tyne and Wear Metro. BR kept much of the remaining B&T network open for freight but the decline of the Northumberland Coalfield in the 1980s and 1990s has reduced this traffic.
Collywell Bay branch
Starting in 1912 North Eastern Railway constructed a branch line from a junction a mile to the north of Monkseaton station to Collywell Bay, the site of a proposed housing development. The two mile long line was to have one intermediate stop at Brierdene. Construction was halted at the opening of the First World War and in 1917 the Ministry of Munitions and Railway Executive Committee pulled up the track to recycle elsewhere. A mile long section of the track was reinstated so that a rail gun could use it for coastal defence. After the war the line was left unfinished and as the proposed housing had not materialised the line was closed in 1932.
Proposals for reinstatement of passenger services
By the 1990s local councils were considering the feasibility of restoring passenger services linking Ashington and Blyth with Newcastle Central to be restored. In 1998 the Railway Development Society (renamed Railfuture in 2000) endorsed the proposal.
Denis Murphy, the Labour MP for the local Wansbeck constituency, campaigned for this reopening throughout his period of office (1997–2010). He raised the matter in the House of Commons in an adjournment debate in April 1999 and again in a debate in January 2007.
In 2009 the Association of Train Operating Companies published a £34 million proposal to restore passenger services to the B&T line that would include reopening stations at Seaton Delaval, Bedlington, Newsham (for Blyth) and Ashington.
- "Blyth Tyne Branch". Northumbrian Railways. Retrieved 14 December 2009.[dead link]
- Bevan, Alan, ed. (1998). A-Z of Rail Reopenings (fourth ed.). Fareham: Railway Development Society Ltd. p. 59. ISBN 0-901283-13-4.
- "10 January 2007". Denis Murphy and others. Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (United Kingdom: House of Commons). col. 135WH–139WH.
- Connecting Communities: Expanding Access to the Rail Network. London: Association of Train Operating Companies. 2009. p. 17.
- Crawford, Ewan. "Blyth and Tyne Railway". A History of Britain's Railways. Railscot.