A significant number of extra inter-city train services are being introduced at Morpeth Station from this weekend.
Starting on Sunday, Virgin Trains is providing two new weekday services leaving London at 9.30am and 1.30pm and arriving at Morpeth at 12.57pm and 4.57pm before proceeding to Edinburgh.
In the southbound direction, new trains leave Edinburgh at 2pm and 6.30pm, and arrive at Morpeth at 3.14pm and 7.54pm, before continuing on to London.
There are also new weekend services, with later departures from Edinburgh to Morpeth on Friday and Saturday nights, and two extra services each way on Sundays, including a morning departure from Morpeth at 9am to the Scottish capital.
Dennis Fancett, chairman of SENRUG – the group that campaigns for better rail services in south-east Northumberland, said: “We are delighted to welcome these new services. It will now be possible to catch a direct train from London to Morpeth on weekday mornings and additionally we will have off-peak Virgin trains between Morpeth and both London and Edinburgh.
“We have been in negotiations with Virgin for some time, articulating the business case of Morpeth, and are pleased our arguments have been listened to.”
SENRUG is also hosting a public meeting on Monday at 7.30pm in Morpeth Town Hall with guest speaker Neal Smith, from Virgin Trains, who will outline future plans.
Claire Ansley, general manager for Virgin Trains on its East Coast route, said: “We’re really pleased to launch extra services for Morpeth, with no fewer than 26 new departures from Morpeth per week, which we think is great news for customers.
“While developing our new timetable, we’ve listened very carefully to customers and communities across Northumberland and this has included the reinstatement of a popular weekday service which will depart from Edinburgh at 18.30, as well as the introduction of later departures from Edinburgh on Friday and Saturday evenings.
“SENRUG has very much helped to shape many of our improvements for Morpeth and I would like to thank them for their continued support and commitment to working with Virgin Trains.
“These additional services are being introduced just over 18 months before we launch our new Virgin Azuma trains, which will significantly improve the speed, comfort and frequency of services on the route.”