High speed rail brings ‘all change’ on trains

Artist's impression of high speed rail train
Artist's impression of high speed rail train
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High speed trains calling at Sheffield could have major consequences for the rest of South Yorkshire’s rail network.

A document released by Network Rail, which manages Britain’s railway network, predicts fewer trains will run on the current Midland Main Line between Sheffield and London.

Meanwhile, Cross Country inter city trains between the north east, Birmingham and south west, which call at Doncaster and Sheffield, will also switch to the new HS2 high speed line.

And East Coast Main Line journeys calling at Doncaster between London, the north east and Scotland will be diverted on to the high speed network.

But ‘freed-up’ lines would be available for new services, according to Network Rail, which manages railway infrastructure.

Changes could include extending regular services between St Pancras and Sheffield to Barnsley, Rotherham Central and Leeds on the current tracks, although they would have more stops and be slower than at present.

More trains could run between Sheffield and Nottingham, and Sheffield and Manchester.

In Doncaster, new journeys could be provided to Cambridge and Stansted Airport, and to extra destinations in the north east, such as the Durham coast and Middlesbrough.

Both the Midland Main Line and East Coast Main Line could also be used for more freight trains.

Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Network Rail documents backs up some of the arguments in favour of high speed rail and it looks like we would see more trains.

“I would also be hopeful of a service along HS2 on to HS1, the Channel Tunnel Link, so we could have fast trains from Sheffield to Europe.”

A Network Rail spokesman said: “The transfer of long-distance services on to HS2 will release much-needed capacity on the existing railway network.

“Our initial work in this area has identified options for improved services through increased frequencies, new stopping patterns and better connections.

“We will continue to work with stakeholders including local authorities, local chambers of commerce and others to understand how this capacity can best be put to use to help support growth.”