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The Blyth and Tyne Line

As a young boy sometime in 1953 or 1954, I went on an excursion by rail from Percy Main to Rothbury, and although I can’t remem- ber much about the excursion, I am always proud to be able to say that I actually travelled on that line.

For some reason I remember that train passing through Chopping- ton station, having left Percy Main in an easterly direction and therefore [presumably] joining the Blyth and Tyne line at Monk- seaton. Of course, the Blyth and Tyne at that time still carried passengers; it would be another 10 years before the service was withdrawn, although Choppington itself had lost its passenger service in 1950, when the Bedlington—Morpeth stretch closed. I was equally proud, therefore, to claim that I had ridden on that stretch of line.

Over 50 years later the opportunity to ride the Blyth and Tyne came to me again, when I joined one of three trains chartered by the South East Northumberland Rail Users’ Group (SENRUG), on the 7th June this year. At first I was led to understand that the train would travel from Morpeth to Bedlington, then reverse to Ashington, before returning to Morpeth by the same route. How- ever, on leaving Morpeth, the train headed south along the ECML to Newcastle, then headed back north again. (I should have read the ticket more carefully!) Passengers were therefore able to travel over almost the whole stretch of the Blyth and Tyne to Ashington, then back to Bedlington and Morpeth.

The ride, over lines which are now only used by freight traffic, was very smooth, and SENRUG’s representatives were very help- ful in explaining where we were throughout the journey. The lit- erature which they distributed gives a very clear explanation of their campaign to re-open the Blyth and Tyne to passengers, thus restoring rail links to the most populous area of Northumberland.

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