A major boost for Morpeth Railway Station users has been announced.
Virgin Trains East Coast will double the number of its weekday services from London that call at the station from December 12.
Adding to the direct evening services from 4.30pm and 6.30pm will be a morning train leaving the capital at 9.30am and an early afternoon service from 1.30pm – giving four trains from London to Morpeth.
The new services also mean that Morpeth will have additional trains to Edinburgh at 12.57pm and 4.57pm, creating a total of six Virgin Trains rail services from Morpeth Railway Station to Scotland (seven on Fridays).
As for travelling to London, new direct services will leave Morpeth at 3.15pm and 7.56pm. These extra trains stopping at the station will operate between Mondays and Thursdays.
Passengers from Edinburgh will also enjoy additional direct trains to Morpeth at 2pm and 6.30pm.
The 6.30pm link to the Scottish capital was withdrawn in May. It has been re-instated following representations from the South East Northumberland Rail User Group (SENRUG).
It told officials at Virgin Trains that the service was particularly convenient for commuters, those attending business meetings and leisure travellers returning to Morpeth after a day trip to Edinburgh.
In addition, the 4.20pm Edinburgh to London service will call at Morpeth at 5.32pm from Sunday, December 18.
SENRUG chairman Dennis Fancett said: “All of these new train services at Morpeth are the culmination of lengthy negotiations between us and Virgin Trains, in which we explained the size of the market at Morpeth and the population the station serves.
“We are pleased that Virgin has listened to our arguments and is now substantially improving its train services for the town.
“Those people who have grown accustomed to using their car because there wasn’t a sufficient choice of direct rail services now have the opportunity to leave their car at home and try out the ease and comfort of high speed train travel, and we certainly hope people will take advantage of the significantly enhanced range of rail services that will be available from December.”
The announcement is also good news for users at Alnmouth Railway Station. The 1.30pm and 5.30pm services from London will stop there at 5.11pm and 9pm respectively.
In addition, the 6.30pm service from Edinburgh will call at Alnmouth at 7.40pm.
Emma Vincent, general manager for Virgin Trains on its east coast route, said the services are being introduced about 18 months before the firm launches new Virgin Azuma trains that will “significantly improve the speed, comfort and frequency of services on the route”.
She added: “We’re pleased to introduce these additional services after listening carefully to the feedback we’ve had from SENRUG and other stakeholders and customers who we’ve worked closely with to develop our new timetable.”