Grant Davey said his biggest transport concern is to get the Ashington Blyth and Tyne railway line opened up to passenger services.
The Labour council boss said he would focus on the county’s rail links ahead of long-term issues such as dualling the A1.
Coun Davey said he is increasingly concerned council efforts to find an estimated £60m for the line will be undermined by the slow pace of other rail providers.
As such, Coun Davey said, he intends to start meeting with rail providers such as ScotRail. The Scottish operator has recently returned to commuter stops on the Waverly line north of the border, experience Coun Davey said could make them an ideal partner.
He made the transport pitch one of his key priorities for his new administration, alongside ideas such as moving council departments back to high streets, and embarking on a new era of house building.
Coun Davey said: “Obviously the A1 is a big issue for us, and if the money can be found we want to be ready to go with it, but the A1 has needed money for a long time and not got any closer to being dualled. It’s not something we can do ourselves, you have to get the Highways Agency and the Government to back it.
“So it’s a priority if we can work on it but for now the real focus has to be on the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne line. It is already in use for freight and we think we can make the funding numbers work.