DARLINGTON’S Bank Top station is at one side of the East Coast Main Line.

At present, southbound trains calling at it have to cross the path of northbound trains twice, once to enter the station and secondly to leave it.

Because it is not always possible for northbound trains to enter and leave the station at the same time as the southbound ones, the northbound, and some southbound ones, are subject to unnecessary delay. The braking and acceleration involved uses energy and thus causes unnecessary pollution.

The long overdue solution is to rebuild the station so that it straddles the main lines. Rebuilding, and taking the opportunity to replace the existing ground level Darlington North Junction and Darlington South Junction with ‘grade separated junctions’, would use environmental resources. However, the one-off construction costs would soon be offset by the reduction in the far greater ongoing operational costs.

In addition to removing unnecessary pollution, such works would enable much more efficient freight and passenger services, especially those to and from Teesport, Middlesbrough, and stations to Saltburn to the east, and Bishop Auckland, Newton Aycliffe, and stations to the west.

Some years ago, my research for an article in a railway publication proved that trains to and from Saltburn at that time were slower than those in 1895! This may still be the case, due to the time spent waiting to cross the main lines. Grade separated junctions would overcome this unacceptable situation.

It is important that this work is undertaken now to prevent further misguided development encroaching on railway land.

The new station needs to incorporate at least eight perfectly straight hollow platforms, each one being a minimum of 350 yards (circa 320m) in length.

The new station also needs to include facilities suitable for freight and parcels trains.

All the platforms should have individual roofs, rather than one overall roof.

Darlington prides itself on being a pioneer of railway development. What better way to celebrate the forthcoming 200th anniversary than opening a railway station truly fit for purpose?

Martin N Wooff, Willington