The campaign to reopen Gilsland Railway Station, by neighbouring MPs Dr Neil Hudson MP and Guy Opperman MP, has now secured the vital support from Railways Minister Chris Heaton Harris MP.
As part of the ‘Restoring Your Railway’ Fund, announced in February 2020 by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP, an application for the reopening of Gilsland Railway Station was submitted. Following a meeting just before Christmas between Dr Neil Hudson, Guy Opperman and the Railways Minister, the Minister wrote to Guy and Neil in which he praised the local coalition of MPs, councils, the National Park Authority, rail user and the community groups which have come together to back the proposal for a new railway station at Gilsland.
In his letter Chris Heaton Harris MP stated:
“ I am grateful for the work done so far by yourself, the local community, the Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership, the local authorities and everyone who supports this project.
‘As the Minister responsible for Restoring Your Railway I wanted to make a number of points. I can confirm that the reopening of Gilsland Railway Station is the type of scheme that I am keen to help progress. As you are aware, any scheme must go through the usual processes to demonstrate value for money.”
He concludes his letter by saying:
“Ultimately, I want to make it clear that I am an enthusiastic supporter of the project, which on initial assessment appears to fit in with the desire of government to regenerate the north, level up, and improve transport connectivity, and economic opportunity. I look forward to us working collectively at DfT and across the north to turn this project into a reality.”
Penrith and Border MP, Neil Hudson said:
“I am really happy to be working with my colleague and neighbour Guy Opperman MP on this important project. If we can re-open the station at Gilsland it will be such an important shot in the arm for our local community. It will improve connectivity for local people, help the economy and help people enjoy the fantastic environment in this part of the world, not least the amazing Hadrian’s Wall trail.’
Hexham MP Guy Opperman MP said:
‘I am delighted that our long campaign continues to make progress and now has this support from the Railways Minister. I am hugely grateful to my colleague Neil Hudson MP, who is leading the campaign on the Cumbria side and making real progress in galvanising further support. We will continue to press the case within Government and do all we can to support the Northumberland County Council team who are doing such a great job of taking this vital application forward.’