A RAILWAY supremo has lent his support for the campaign to reopen Gilsland railway station.

MPs Dr Neil Hudson and Guy Opperman say they’ve secured the backing of railways minister Chris Heaton-Harris – and an application to re-establish the station has now been submitted as part of the Restoring Your Railway fund.

The minister has written to the MPs and praised the local coalition of councils, the national park authority, rail users and community groups who’ve come together to push for the project.

In the letter he said: “I am grateful for the work done so far by yourself, the local community, the Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership, the local authorities and everyone who supports this project.

“As the minister responsible for the Restoring Your Railway fund I wanted to make a number of points.

“I can confirm that the reopening of Gilsland Railway Station is the type of scheme that I am keen to help progress.

“As you are aware, any scheme must go through the usual processes to demonstrate value for money.

“Ultimately, I want to make it clear that I am an enthusiastic supporter of the project, which on initial assessment appears to fit in with the desire of government to regenerate the North, level up, and improve transport connectivity, and economic opportunity.

“I look forward to us working collectively at the Department for Transport and across the North to turn this project into reality.”

Penrith and Border MP, Neil said: “I am really happy to be working with my colleague Guy Opperman on this important project.

“If we can reopen the station at Gilsland it will be such an important shot in the arm for our local community.

“It will improve connectivity for local people, help the economy and help people enjoy the fantastic environment in this part of the world, not least the amazing Hadrian’s Wall Trail.”

Hexham MP Guy Opperman said: “I am delighted that our long campaign is making progress and now has support from the railways minister.

“I am hugely grateful to my colleague Neil who is leading the campaign on the Cumbria side and making real progress in galvanising further support.

“We’ll continue to press the case within Government and do all we can to support the Northumberland County Council team who are taking this application forward.”