THIS is an observation regarding the re-opening of railway lines in Weardale and the Derwent valley line from Consett to Tyneside.

In my opinion, re-opening these lines is pie in the sky and could never be carried out, but, of course, politicians can say that putting money up for this will be part of ‘levelling up’ for the red wall seats.

Would it be wrong of me to think that politicians can make promises about anything if they know it will never happen?

I know that there is an occasionally open railway line from Bishop Auckland to Stanhope but it is a tourist line and the state of the track means it is limited to very low speeds.

However, we hear that the line is to be extended out to Wearhead and the spur that ran to Crook is to be re-opened. Any hope of re-opening the line to Crook was blocked many years ago at Howden-le-Wear and the people of Weardale will tell you, I’m sure, that opening the line west of Eastgate is out of the question.

However, now Cllr Carl Marshall has suggested re-opening the Leamside line (Echo, Mar 8). Now this is not pie in the sky. I know that much of the track was lifted but other than that the entire infrastructure is still there.

Cllr Marshall wants to re-open the whole line from Ferryhill but I’ve banged on to anyone who would listen for years that it would cost very little to open up a shuttle service to the Newcastle Metro service at Wardley from the Belmont Park & Ride using the Leamside line. It would be easy to arrange halts at the Raintons, Fencehouses and Washington etc.

I will watch with interest to see if the Government will actually put up some real ‘levelling up’ money to a project that might just become a reality.

Denis Smith, Crook.