I was delighted to board the inaugural direct Azuma train from Middlesbrough to London this week.
Whilst it may be a stretch to say it represents a new dawn, it is undoubtedly a hugely important milestone in our railway journey and represents the successful culmination of years of campaigning.
It’s the start, and only a start, towards better connections and it’s been a long time coming.
It has been nine years since I was elected as MP for my hometown and from the very beginning, I have campaigned for improved transport services in the region as I have long since been convinced that there are huge economic benefits to come to Middlesbrough and the Tees Valley from having better rail links and better bus services.
I will continue to fight for a fuller service. Middlesbrough deserves nothing less.