Work has started on a new station it is hoped will bring an economic boost to the east of County Durham.
The £10.55 million station – at Horden, near Peterlee – will see the area connected to local, regional and national rail networks.
The station is expected to open in spring 2020, providing services every hour heading both north and south.
The first stage of the work will focus on the construction of a 139-space carpark and bus stops. The station itself will then be built, which will have two 100-metre platforms complete with shelters, linked by an accessible footbridge.
The scheme will also involve the building of a new road, footpath and cycle path.
It is hoped that the station will play a key role in the regeneration of the Horden area. Estimates suggest that 70,000 people could use the station each year.
98.6% of the people who took part in a public consultation in 2016 said they would use the station.
The station should complement other schemes in the area, which are aiming to increase business investment, renew housing and develop community projects.
The station is being funded by Durham County Council, with the aid of a £4.4 million grant from the Department for Transport’s New Station Fund and a grant of £3.34 million from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
The council has also been working closely with Network Rail and Northern Railway on the scheme.
Representatives from all these organisations recently gathered at the site of the station – at South East View – to celebrate the beginning of the construction work.
The leader of Durham County Council, Cllr Simon Henig, said, “I am very pleased to see the start of work on a development which will bring much improved transport links for residents in the east of the county.”
“The development will open up employment opportunities for local people while at the same time providing a direct connection to our coastline for visitors travelling from further afield.”
Ray Browning, programme manager at the North East LEP, said, “This will be a significant development for the people and businesses of Horden and the surrounding areas.”
“The station will not only improve access to employment sites and education facilities in the Tees, Tyne and Wear conurbations, but will also bring visitors to the Durham Heritage Coast, giving a welcome economic boost.”
Northern Railway regional director for the North East, Anna Weeks, said, “We are really excited by this great opportunity on our Durham Coast route and are grateful to Durham County Council for their commitment in delivering this.”
“The opening of Horden station will help connect the local community to Middlesbrough and Newcastle as well as our coastal destinations of Whitby and Saltburn and further afield to the National Rail Network.”
“Along with our train modernisation programme, with the removal of the pacer units in 2019 and introduction of digital trains on the line, it’s an exciting time for train users in the region.”
(The featured image shows representatives of Durham County Council, North East LEP, Network Rail and Northern Railway getting the work on Horden Station officially underway.)