A north-east England railway line that closed to passengers in the 1960s is to reopen next year.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper announced that regular train services will return to the Northumberland Line between Newcastle and Ashington in summer 2024.
It was previously expected that the route would reopen by the end of this year.
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Mr Harper told the PA news agency engineering challenges caused by the area’s coal mining past caused the delays.
The project involves six new stations being built at Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth Bebside, Newsham, Seaton Delaval and Northumberland Park.
Preparatory work began in January 2021.
Mr Harper said: “Communities in Northumberland can get ready for regular train services that will better connect people to jobs, education and opportunities while growing our economy.
“Restoring lost railway connections will drive tourism, boost local business opportunities and encourage investment across our regions, which is why I’m pleased to say that we are on track to reopen this historic line next summer.”
The Northumberland Line was axed following a report by British Railways chairman Dr Richard Beeching in 1963 which decimated much of the network due to low demand and high costs.
Restoring services will reduce journey times between Newcastle and Ashington from 70 minutes to 35 minutes, according to the DfT.
Trains will run seven days a week.
Northumberland County Council leader Glen Sanderson said: “We are delighted to have reached this major milestone which gives the green light for the main construction works to start.
“This is such a transformational scheme which will bring benefits for residents, businesses and visitors for generations to come.
“We have been working so hard over recent years to make this scheme happen, getting all the necessary planning and stations approved and preparing the line for the major works.
“This is the moment we’ve been working towards and I am so excited we’ve reached this point as we prepare to get trains rolling again through this part of our county.”