RAIL passengers are being urged to give their views on £530 million plans to improve services across the north of England including the line between Sheffield and Manchester.
Public consultation events are taking place about the Northern Hub scheme at Sheffield Station on Friday between 7am-9.30am and from 3pm-7pm and on Saturday at Meadowhall shopping centre, from 10am-6pm.
Network Rail’s proposals include laying extra tracks to relieve a bottleneck at Dore Station, which is currently single track, and in the Hope Valley, to provide places where fast trains can overtake slow ones.
A Network Rail spokeswoman said: “The plans would allow a faster journey time of 40 minutes between Sheffield and Manchester, and improved journey times from Sheffield to Manchester Airport, Liverpool and other destinations to the west of Manchester.
“Trains would run every 20 minutes between Sheffield and Manchester, instead of half-hourly at present.”
More immediate improvements are also on track in the Sheffield area, with East Midlands Trains doubling the size of most of its trains between Sheffield and Manchester from two to four carriages. Northern is also receiving extra carriages for services to and from Sheffield in the coming weeks.
In Parliament, the All Party Rail in the North Group has urged the Government to support the scheme, although Transport Minister Theresa Villiers has said ministers are unlikely to make an ‘all or nothing’ decision.
But she added: “We will look carefully at the Northern Hub project. We will be listening closely to the All Party Group and other stakeholders in this.”