Hospital rail halt boost

A PROPOSAL to boost hospital access for patients has been given the go-ahead.

Plane for the construction of a new rail halt at James Cook University Hospital, which is used by patients from Hartlepool and East Durham, have been approved by Middlesbrough Council’s planning committee.

Construction on the project will begin this summer, with completion scheduled for March 2014.

Funding for the new station was secured following a successful bid by Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU) to the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

Welcoming the latest development, TVU managing director Stephen Catchpole, said: “This new station is a long standing aspiration which is being funded as part of the £4.5m received through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, alongside the improvements at 11 existing Tees Valley stations.

“It will help us realise one of our priority transport ambitions, enhancing our existing rail network and supporting the economic regeneration of the area by increasing the mobility of workers and the accessibility of a key site.”

Jill Moulton, director of planning at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said: “The rail link will be a major boost for the trust, our staff and our patients.”

“It is something we have been talking about for over 25 years and will greatly improve access for patients.”

Use of the new rail station will be served by 16 trains a day in each direction with each existing service on the Esk Valley line calling at the halt, and an additional four trains extended from Middlesbrough to terminate at Nunthorpe.