Around £100,000 is to be spent developing plans to build a new railway station in Rotherham.
South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive is set to commission further research into plans for a new £15 miilion station for the town to be built close to the Parkgate retail centre.
It is hoped the technical study will support an application for Government funding set aside to support building new railway stations.
A report to Rotherham Council’s commissioners and cabinet said preliminary work has suggested ‘the only practical and cost-effective way’ to improve rail connections to the town is to build a new station.
Tom Finnegan-Smith, transportation, highways and projects manager, said: “The suggested location for this station is at Parkgate, although the next phase of work will consider all potential station locations in greater detail. In order to develop a business case and ensure that the station is a viable proposition, further consultancy support will be commissioned and funded by SYPTE.
“At this early stage the full financial implications of a potential new station are not known although the advice based on similar new stations being constructed at present is that the cost could be in the region of £15.1m.”
He added: “SYPTE will be commissioning the further specialist work required to develop a preferred station option. This will be funded by SYPTE and is anticipated to cost in the region of £100,000.”
Rotherham Central Station, given a £10.4m redevelopment in 2012, would remain open to serve local journeys even if a new station is built.
The report said one issue to be considered is connecting the potential new station to the new Tram-Train line being developed between Sheffield and Rotherham.
It said: “This will be considered as part of the further station development work and also covered in part by further work to be undertaken to develop the options for a tram-train stop at Magna.”
The report added that building a new station to improve connections would come ‘at a significantly lower cost than the option of upgrading the route via Rotherham Central’.
It said: “The Parkgate location offers the potential for a Parkway station that would help to stimulate development and regeneration in a number of areas surrounding the station site, as well as delivering the potential wider economic benefits of service improvements.
“Rotherham Central would continue to play an important role by providing key local connections, particularly Rotherham-Sheffield, which will be further enhanced by the development of the Tram-Train scheme which is due to open in early 2017.”
The new station is expected to handle around 250,000 passengers per year and it is hoped it would include journeys to Manchester Airport and Cleethorpes, as well as a fast service to Nottingham and Leeds.