THE first passengers travelling directly from Manchester, Leeds and York to Redcar on a TransPennine train arrived at Redcar Central station this morning The service, which arrived at 9.50am before departing for Manchester again at 10.05am, now has hourly journeys taking place each day to Redcar.

Councillor Wayne Davies, from Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, who joined the crowd to welcome the arrivals, said: "This is fantastic for local people.

“Thousands of our residents now have direct access to major Northern cities such as Leeds, York and Manchester. It changes their journeys significantly, especially on the run-up to Christmas.

“This also opens all sorts of opportunities and possibilities for our local businesses and their clients and customers. Within Redcar and Cleveland, we have specialists based at Wilton International and this link allows them to develop closer working relationships with businesses requiring our vast expertise in the chemical, process and engineering sectors.

“We are now much easier to reach so it’s a real positive step making our businesses more attractive to the wider economy.”

Cllr Davies added: “Extending the TransPennine Express service to Saltburn and East Cleveland is our next ambition.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “I’m delighted to see the arrival of the first train at Redcar and it’s a huge step forward in giving the people of the borough the transport links they deserve. I’ve been working hard with TransPennine Express, Redcar and Cleveland Council and Network Rail to deliver this, and now it’s a reality.

“The next step is to secure a second-phase link to Saltburn, to connect those who live on our fantastic coast with major cities across the North. I’ll continue to push for this extension, which will make getting to, from and around our area better than ever and help drive further growth.”

The council has published its draft proposals for a Strategic Transport Plan, which is in its consultation stage. To see the documents, and to give your views, please visit: