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Gilsland Railway Station campaign steams ahead as minister lends his support

A campaign to reopen Gilsland Railway Station has won support from a Government minister.

The campaign, led by Penrith and the Border MP Neil Hudson and Hexham MP Guy Opperman, has secured support from railways minister Chris Heaton Harris.

As part of the Restoring Your Railway Fund, announced in February 2020 by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, an application for the reopening of Gilsland Railway Station was submitted.

Following a meeting just before Christmas between Dr Hudson, Mr Opperman and Mr Heaton Harris, the minister wrote to the northern MPs.

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, Mr Heaton Harris said: “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.

“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 the Department for Transport and across the north to turn this project into a reality.”

Dr Hudson said: “If we can reopen 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.’

Mr Opperman added: “I am delighted that our long campaign continues to make progress and now has this 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.”