The Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen presented an ambitious case to the Transport Secretary to transform Darlington Station into a modern rail hub.
Mr Houchen joined Chris Grayling at the station to discuss Darlington 2025 and pressed the minister on funding for the plan on Friday. It will see the site remodelled to achieve its full potential as a major hub for both local and national rail links.
Recalling the same innovation shown in 1825, when the Stockton-Darlington Railway pioneered rail passenger transport, Darlington 2025 will enhance rail connections across the North on the East Coast Main Line and will form a vital part of the future HS2 network.
The proposal set out new plans for the rearrangement of the rail infrastructure around the station leading to faster, more frequent and better quality services across the Tees Valley, County Durham and North Yorkshire, and improved freight connections from Teesport.
Mr Grayling said: “Upgrades at Darlington have potential to support overall improvements to local routes and services across the North, as well as help bring HS2 into the North East.
“I look forward to working alongside Mr Houchen and Transport for the North to make progress on these proposals for the future of this wonderful station.”
Mr Houchen said: “It was a pleasure to meet the Transport Secretary and outline our exciting Darlington 2025 plans at the station itself.
“He made it clear he was interested in the potential this exciting new scheme could unlock for the Tees Valley, the North and, indeed, the country.
“Our proposals will make rail travel across the Tees Valley and the wider North easier than ever for visitors and commuters alike which is vital for our economy.
“Our suggested upgrades will allow us to grab the opportunities from HS2 with both hands, leading to a major boost for businesses across the area.”