Direct Redcar-Manchester trains to launch in December
Direct trains running between Redcar and Manchester will launch in December, it has been announced.
The TransPennine Express (TPE) services will give Teesside passengers access to York, Leeds and Manchester without having to change trains at Middlesbrough as is currently the case.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen hailed the move a "huge step forward".
Initial plans to run to Saltburn were scrapped in July as they were deemed too costly.
The hourly services between Redcar Central and Manchester Airport will operate from Sunday, 15 December.
Conservative politician Mr Houchen said: "Extending the line is vital if we are to connect our amazing coast with the rest of the north."
However, he added he would continue to call for an extension of those services to Saltburn.
'Bring more people'
Anna Turley, Labour MP for Redcar, echoed those comments, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.
"It's important that this will place Redcar on a main line route, rather than being a suburban extension, to help bring more people into our main town centre," she said.
"This extension was first given the green light a year ago for a service that was meant to run through to Saltburn.
"So while I'm glad TransPennine are now delivering this, it should include the full route as soon as possible for the benefit of residents in East Cleveland."
It has also been announced a new rail timetable will see services to Redcar British Steel - the least used station in Britain last year - stopped temporarily in a bid to enable faster journeys to Redcar Central.
Only 40 passengers used the station in 2017-18, according to Office of Rail and Road figures.
Demand dropped following the 2015 closure of the nearby SSI steel plant.