The Sunderland to Durham railway and the Leamside lines are disused railways in Co Duham. Reopening the lines could link Sunderland to the mainline east coast line in Durham as well as to the Teeside International airport.
Durham and Sunderland as major universities would benefit from links to each other and to another international airport. Duham. Towns such as Renshaw and Rainton would gain a new commuter route and links to the existing Metro system.
The Minister for the Railway Chris Heaton-Harris MP told Parliament on the 4th February 2020 that:
” I have been contacted by a local activist near to the right hon. Gentleman called Christopher Howarth who is keen to see the railway between Sunderland and Durham reopened. As a viaduct fan, I can say that there is one of the most beautiful viaducts I have ever seen along that route, so I very much hope that those plans will come to fruition.”
And again on 29 April 2021 that
“We certainly intend to follow through on our promises to the people in the north-east and Wearside, something that decades of Labour disinterest in that area have failed to deliver. Ahead of finalising the integrated rail plan, we are fully considering the evidence from all stakeholders; we have had an awful lot. I just remind the hon. Lady, who I know supports this scheme, that it was driven by local campaigners, at the start with a guy called Christopher Howarth, who was a Conservative campaigner. There was little interest from her party or its representatives before he got involved.