Achieving outstanding outcomes through third-party rail schemes What We Do

Northumberland Line

The new line in construction between Newcastle and Ashington represents a new and innovative approach to funding and delivery of rail infrastructure.

Project Overview

Northumberland County Council (NCC) is leading the way in the regeneration of the north east region through the Northumberland Line project. We’re proud to be an integral part of this transformative project. This new line will improve transport links and provides sustainable access to the key regional economic centres in Tyne and Wear. The project will involve the construction of six new stations at Ashington, Blyth Bebside, Bedlington, Newsham, Seaton Delaval and Northumberland Park. This project is possible because after the Hansford Review in 2017 – an independent review of Network Rail’s approach to funding and financing of projects – local authorities and the private sector were granted the power to develop their own rail projects, opening the door to a range of possibilities. In addition, the DfT also established a new process to support rail investment projects, known as the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP

Managing Project Delivery

We’re the client representative working on Requirements Management, Programme Management and Timetable and Operations for the new upgraded line. We’re also helping NCC to develop and negotiate the various land and legal agreements required for the scheme and overseeing the construction works for the client along the 18 miles of track upgrade, six new stations, three new footbridges and new signal locationsUpon completion, ownership of the new stations and enhanced infrastructure assets will be transferred from Northumberland County Council to Network Rail and then leased to the Station Facility Owner. 

Developing and funding the scheme

Northumberland County Council (NCC) appointed SLC and AECOM (via the Perfect Circle joint venture), and an ambitious new strategy was created for the Northumberland Line, making it the biggest third-party-funded rail upgrade project in the UK directly developed and promoted by a local authority. Our multidisciplinary teams helped the local authority navigate complex rules and design development, while also developing a strategic full business case for the project, which highlights the vital economic stimulus for the region. 


Relationships have been built across a broad spectrum of public and private organisations, ensuring that local authorities, Network Rail and the Department for Transport all work together smoothly, with one shared goal of a successful project in mind. The strong collaboration between public and private sectors, across technical, funding, staging and operations, represents a novel approach to ensuring the successful and swift implementation of the scheme. Some of these stakeholders include: 

  • Department for Transport 
  • Direct Rail Services 
  • GB Railfreight 
  • Newcastle City Council 
  • Network Rail 
  • North of Tyne Combined Authority 
  • North Tyneside Council 
  • Northern Rail 
  • Office of Rail and Road  
  • Transport for the North (TfN) 

Our Other projects