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Darlington 2025: A Modern Rail Hub For A Modern Economy

The Tees Valley Combined Authority and Darlington Council have today launched a transformational vision for Darlington Station.

The event, held at CPI National Biologics Manufacturing Centre, set out vision for Darlington 2025 which include remodelling the station and creating dedicated platforms for local connections and future high speed services.  The ambitious programme will enhance rail connections across the North, on the East Coast Main Line, as an integral part of the HS2 network, and across the Tees Valley.

Benefits of the plans are set to include:

  • A £130 million boost to the economy annually, amounting to up to £1 billion overall.
  • More than 3,000 direct and indirect jobs created
  • 98,500 square metres of commercial space
  • 1,500 new homes
  • 1:29 journey time from Darlington to Birmingham, a reduction of 52 minutes
  • 1:52 journey time from Darlington to London, a reduction of 28 minutes
  • 1:10 journey time from Darlington to Manchester, a reduction of 45 minutes

Darlington 2025 positions Darlington as a crucial part of the new HS2 network, able to accommodate new high speed trains once they join the East Coast Main Line.  It sets out new plans for the reconfiguration of the rail infrastructure around the station, to unlock improvements to local rail services, leading to faster, more frequent and better quality services across the Tees Valley, County Durham and North Yorkshire, and better freight connections from Teesport.

This ambitious programme captures the pioneering spirit shown nearly 200 years ago, when the Stockton-Darlington Railway first ushered in the age of rail passenger transport.  In the last 4 years the town has seem nearly £200 million of investment within ten minutes walk of the station including the National Biologics Centre, Business Central and the Feethams leisure development.  By 2025, Darlington should be able to celebrate the future of a modern rail hub for a modern economy, as well as the great historical significance of the 200th anniversary and will be a catalyst to wider regeneration opportunities.

Councillor Bill Dixon, Leader of Darlington Borough Council and Chair of the Tees Valley Transport Committee said:

“Our ambitious rail vision will maximise the economic potential of the Tees Valley, secure investment and create jobs. In 2025 we will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of the modern passenger railway in the Tees Valley and showcase, to visitors from across the world, the same ambition and ingenuity that positioned our region at the heart of industrial Britain. We hold the same convictions as our forebears, that fast efficient passenger and freight rail services are key to our future prosperity.”

Commenting on the vision Paul Griffiths, Phase 2b Development Director at HS2 said:

“HS2 represents a once in a lifetime chance to rebalance the national economy, connecting the North, to the Midlands, and the South East. It will transform rail travel in this country, connecting eight of the 10 largest cities in the UK, as well as improving capacity for consumers and productivity for the economy.  HS2 trains stopping at Darlington opens up opportunities for jobs and regeneration, not just in the town centre, but across the wider Tees Valley.”

The programme is a collaboration between the Tees Valley Combined Authority and Darlington Council, working with Network Rail and Virgin Trains to develop a vision for the regeneration of the East Coast mainline at Darlington.

David Brown, Chief Executive, Transport for North, who spoke at the event said: “The development of Darlington 2025 is an excellent example of local areas working together to agree regional transport priorities. In developing a Strategic Transport Plan for the whole of the North, Transport for the North is building on this collaboration to agree and prioritise transport interventions at a pan-Northern level that can enable transformational economic growth. We recognise the importance of Darlington Station as a key rail gateway to Tees Valley and of the role that this region will play in realising the Northern Powerhouse.”

Graham Botham, Strategy and Planning Director at Network Rail, said “The importance of enhanced rail connectivity on the East Coast Main Line in boosting the economy of the Tees Valley is increasingly recognised across the region.

“Darlington 2025 is an exciting vision which will position Darlington and the wider Tees Valley to fully exploit the benefits of the enhancements Network Rail are working on with Transport for the North, and to exploit the benefits arising from HS2 for passengers and freight users.

“Network Rail are delighted to be working so closely in partnership with Darlington Borough Council and the Tees Valley Combined Authority to develop options which will allow Darlington to realise this vision for improved passenger and freight connectivity for the region.”

Details of the masterplan can be found at www.darlington2025.co.uk and will also be on display at the Dolphin Centre on Thursday 16th March between 4.00pm and 7.00pm.