While our initial plans here at ABTRA are focussed upon the very initial and tentative steps at present, it’s always good to look again at the aspirations of what might be possible to achieve in the future to make all the initial paperwork and discussion that bit easier!
Looking back to the earlier plans by other organisations Plans for the Butterwell Branch (Jan 28th 2017), one idea is to recreate an ‘Ashington North Loop’. This link would not only offer a better connection for Lynefield Park to the mainline, especially if considered with the Butterwell North Junction (please see Plans for Butterwell above); but also falls into a long term ABTRA aspiration.
Bearing in mind our discussions with SENRUG and our creation of a ABTRA & SENRUG – Joint Vision document of late, we would love to see these plans realised and should it not happen commercially, ABTRA would endeavour, in time, to build such a connection itself.
For ABTRA, such a route would have the fantastic appeal of reaching Woodhorn Museum, offering either a starting point for passengers or an end destination, and also offering the rare opportunity of a passenger train to a Colliery museum site.
In addition, should a station at Woodhorn be built for ‘mainline’ trains, it offers the second opportunity for ‘across the platform’ connections, such as those enjoyed by places such as Grosmont on the NYMR, Keighley on the KWVR and more locally the aspiration of the AVR at Alnmouth.
If built with a mainline connections, as is the rest of ABTRAs’ plans for the line, it could be shared between steam and other heritage style operations alongside freight and passenger mainline operations. The long term aim being the adoption of the route. Heritage operation being used in the meantime to establish the route, and cover costs until suitable volumes of traffic develop.
Another added bonus of such as entry to the museum is linking up with the established Woodhorn Narrow Gauge Railway, which already operates a service between the Museum and Lakeside Halt on the edge of the QE2 lake.
As stated this is a very long term aim, and perhaps will never be an ABTRA project, depending on how the scheme develops with other organisations but thought we would share simply to show that we have it in mind.
On the news front we are continuing to work with SENRUG on developing the joint vision, and hopefully we are meeting again with the landowner in the near future to review the results of our February 25th Line Walk.
As ever please take a look at our website (link on the homepage) and have a look at our previous blog posts to see what else we are doing).
We shall keep you posted as news develops, TTFN, R.