Plan to stop Whitby train service continuing beyond Middlesbrough is dropped

Proposals to stop train services to and from Whitby continuing beyond Middlesbrough from May next year have been shelved.

Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 4:29 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 4:33 pm

Northern Rail has said that following consultation it will not be going ahead with the changes, which people in Whitby had claimed would add 50 minutes to a journey to Newcastle.

Under the plans, all people travelling on the Esk Valley Line would have had to change at Middlesbrough to continue on to Whitby or to go further north to Stockton, Hartlepool and Newcastle.

The train operator appeared before Scarborough Borough Council's Places and Futures Overview and Scrutiny Committee this afternoon (Sep 1) to confirm the decision.

Whitby Railway Station

Clare Waller, head of Timetable Development, told the committee the company would now look at the best way to make improvements to the line.

She said: "We obviously went out to consultation with our other industry partners on the May 2022 timetable change.

"We have now got to a point where we have received a lot of feedback and we really thank everyone for all that feedback but as an industry we have taken into consideration a lot of factors and it has been agreed that we are not going to move forward with implementing that timetable change in May 2022.

"This is [down to] a combination of issues and it gives a chance to look at all the consultation responses and reflect on that feedback."

The change to stop through services continuing past Middlesbrough had been proposed after research showed that between only seven and eight per cent of journeys to and from the Esk Valley crossed Middlesbrough.

The Esk Valley Community Rail Partnership had raised concerns that the timetable changes would have a significant impact on the infirm or disabled, and potentially undermine the future viability and sustainability of the Esk Valley Line.

The partnership said that changes would have increased journey times by up to 54 minutes if people had to change at Middlesbrough to get to Newcastle and could lead to longer waiting times for people travelling to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.

Councillors also heard that an additional call at Danby for the 6.30am Whitby to Middlesbrough service was to be added in the near future.