PLANS to reopen an abandoned railway station after 50 years has progressed.

Transport Minister Chris Heaton-Harris wrote to Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman to say officials would be working with local representatives in the coming weeks to move Northumberland County Council’s application to reinstate Gilsland Station forward.

It follows Transport Secretary Grant Shapps’ launch of Restoring Your Railway fund in February with £500m to be invested in improving transport infrastructure, with at least £20m assigned partly for feasibility studies for the reopening of old railway stations, like Gilsland, which closed in 1967.

Northumberland County Council’s plan to reopen Gilsland is being sponsored by Mr Opperman and has the backing of Penrith and Border MP Dr Neil Hudson, Northumberland National Park Authority, the Tyne Valley Rail User Group and the Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership, the Campaign to Open Gilsland Station, Hadrian’s Wall Partnership and a number of councils which span across the Northumberland and Cumbria border.

Mr Opperman said: ‘I am delighted that our long campaign is getting there slowly but surely. We need this detailed feasibility study.

“I welcome the support of Northumberland County Council, and all those who see the benefits of the reopening of Gilsland Station.

“We are not there yet, but we are getting closer and we have a fair chance to secure the funds thanks to the incredible support of community groups, councils, MPs and agencies right across Cumbria and Northumberland.”