Youngsters lobby MP over railway service

Left to right: Sharon Bell (Hirst Park Middle School Vice Principal), Kaly Douglas, Dennis Fancett (Chair, SENRUG), Olivia Sprudd, Ian Lavery (MP for Wansbeck), 'Liam Armstrong and Dylan Mackenzie at Westminster. Brian Oliver, Media Manager at Hirst Park also accompanied the team.

Left to right: Sharon Bell (Hirst Park Middle School Vice Principal), Kaly Douglas, Dennis Fancett (Chair, SENRUG), Olivia Sprudd, Ian Lavery (MP for Wansbeck), 'Liam Armstrong and Dylan Mackenzie at Westminster. Brian Oliver, Media Manager at Hirst Park also accompanied the team.

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Pupils have travelled to Parliament to help press for the re-introduction of passenger services on the Ashington Blyth and Tyne railway line.

Four youngsters from Hirst Park Middle School in Ashington have presented a DVD to Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery setting out the business case for the project.

The students, Kaly Douglas, Olivia Sprudd, Liam Armstrong and Dylan Mackenzie, made the trip after winning a schools’ competition organised by the South East Northumberland Rail User Group (SENRUG) to produce a DVD in support of the campaign.

Morpeth’s Collingwood School and King Edward VI School both took part in the contest. The winning team was given a tour of Parliament prior to meeting Mr Lavery, and on the way home the pupils stopped off at York to visit Northern Rail’s Operation Centre.

SENRUG Chairman Dennis Fancett said: “December 1964 was the first month in which no passenger services ran over the line and 50 years later we at SENRUG looked for a fitting way to mark the closure, which would both strengthen our re-opening campaign and engage a new generation of young people to think about the kind of transport south east Northumberland should have in future years.

“We were delighted by the response from schools and want to thank the teachers and students from all the schools who participated.

“In particular, we congratulate Hirst Park Middle School, and I would be happy to use its DVD to show any sceptic I come across who is not convinced of the merits of this scheme.

“For us the competition has been a great success and I hope that by the time these students go to college or university they will be able to do so by train from Ashington.”

Tickets for the winners’ trip to London were provided by East Coast Trains.

All of the schools’ DVD entries can be seen at www.senrug.co.uk