Talks in place for land train’s return

The land train during its four day trial in Whitley Bay.

The land train during its four day trial in Whitley Bay.

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A visitor attraction which proved a huge success over a four-day trial could make a return on a longer basis.

North Tyneside Council has begun inviting expressions of interest to operate a land train along the coastline.

More than 4,000 people used the attraction during a four-day period last August.

And now the council is looking for an operator to run a service along the whole of the coast.

Last year’s trial ran from the Brierdene car park to the Spanish City Plaza but talks have been held to extend the length from St Mary’s headland in Whitley Bay to North Shields Fish Quay, with the final route being agreed between the council and operator.

Any successful applicant could be given a five-year licence to run the service from the end of March to the end of September, beginning this summer.

The operator will be responsible for providing the land train, all maintenance, repair, operating and ticketing costs and insurance.

Speaking after last yeasr’s trial Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “We have had an overwhelming response to the trial.

“The trial gave us the opportunity to see what level of support and interest it would generate – and after such brilliant comments, it’s now our intention to look at ways in which it can become a more permanent summer coastal attraction.

“We’ve listened to suggestions, like extending its route, and we’ll be taking them into consideration, too.”