AECOM, SLC Rail to reintroduce passenger rail services in Northumberland


AECOM and SLC Rail have reached an agreement with Northumberland County Council to reintroduce rail passenger services to an existing freight-only line.

After completing Outline Business Case (OBC) and option selection stage of the scheme, AECOM and SLC Rail will work together to provide project management, design, operations and advisory services to deliver the design of the Northumberland line.

The announcement gives green light for the project to progress after the Council had approved a further £10m this February.

The new and improved line will have six more stations including Northumberland Park, Newsham, Bedlington and Ashington, Seaton Delaval and Blyth Bebside, linking communities and towns in the South East Northumberland corridor and the wider Tyne and Wear region. The new line is expected to bring economic benefits between £360m and £470m.

SLC managing director Ian Walters said: “This is an extremely exciting project to be involved in, which will help regenerate a lost line and make a positive impact to the local region.

“If we can maintain the momentum and passion amongst the partner organisations working on this scheme, it could well be a game-changer for rail in the UK and show that private and public sectors can work together successfully to deliver major third-party rail projects.”

Considered to be the biggest rail upgrade in the UK, being promoted by a local authority and one of the biggest capital projects that the council has delivered, the project will help tackle issues such as congestion, improving air quality by adding rail alternative to roads.

The improved transport connectivity in the region is also expected to support in creating local jobs and better housing developments.

AECOM transportation regional director Simon Middleton said: “This new scheme is central to the commitment AECOM is making to invest and develop the right infrastructure whilst meeting the needs of local communities.

“With better rail connections, the redevelopment of the Northumberland Line will no doubt boost the region’s economy and create a number of opportunities for local residents who travel along this route.

“Having successfully delivered the first phase with Northumberland County Council and SLC Rail, this new trailblazing approach to delivering key strategic infrastructure rapidly and to budget via the Government’s Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP) has the potential to help regenerate other major cities across the UK and leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.”

AECOM has been one of the founding shareholders of Perfect Circle, the partner appointed by the Council procured via Scape Group’s national Built Environment Consultancy Services (BECS) framework.

Perfect Circle includes Pick Everard, Gleeds and AECOM as members, offering property, construction and infrastructure consultancy services.


AECOM and SLC Rail to launch rail services in Northumberland County. (Credit: Unsplash/Taylor Smith.)

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