A PLAN to revitalise disused railway lines throughout the Tyne Valley has been launched.

John Robertson and Drew Crichton have formed GoTrak, a charity whose purpose is to promote community participation in healthy recreation for the public’s benefit.

The pair have launched an ambitious plan to develop Northumberland’s disused railway lines into public pathways for cycling, walking and recreational use.

The Wansbeck and Border Counties Trail is an initiative they have set up to develop the route of the disused Wansbeck and Border Counties railway lines, which linked Bellingham, Kielder, Hexham, Morpeth and Rothbury.

The trail aims to provide a traffic-free connection between important towns and villages within Northumberland, while offering the chance to rediscover the rich history and heritage of the former railway lines.

The Wansbeck Line, which ran from Reedsmouth junction near Bellingham to Morpeth, closed in 1966 and the Border Counties Railway, which operated from Hexham to Riccarton Junction in the Scottish Borders, closed in 1963.

The charity cited similar projects throughout the country, which provided benefits such as reducing traffic congestion and pollution, local economy boosts, health benefits and developing a green corridor to enhance the natural environment for wildlife.

Drew, originally from Wylam said he knew the Tyne Valley very well, and that his local knowledge had helped him in identifying the pathways in the proposal.

“I walk on these pathways almost every day and the opportunity to do something with it has always been there, but nobody has done anything yet.

“It’s a great chance to provide a county link and space for healthy activity.”

The charity has received the support of Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman and Northumberland County Council, and is now appealing for the public’s support and participation of the local community, including local businesses, to implement and develop the plan.

Funds from public and private grant sources, as well as donations will go towards design, planning and construction work. For more information visit www.gotrak.org.uk