Speed up rail improvements, MP urges

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IMPROVEMENTS to rail services between Sheffield and Manchester should be made as soon as possible, a Sheffield MP has urged.

Penistone and Stocksbridge Labour MP and former transport select committee member Angela Smith has called on the Government to ‘fast track’ the planned £500 million Northern Hub scheme to improve connections across the north of England.

In South Yorkshire, it would mean a series of improvements to the Sheffield to Manchester route, including removing bottlenecks and adding extra tracks so fast trains could overtake slow ones.

The scheme would mean an extra two trains an hour could run between the two cities and bring down journey times.

Mrs Smith said: “Already the congestion around Manchester is curtailing economic activity and costing business money.

“For the £500m cost of the improvements the returns are great.

“However, the government needs to listen and bring forward these works.

“They are desperately needed now. If they don’t it will cost the North dear as it tries to compete with the south east of the country.”

Transport Minister Norman Baker said that some aspects of the Northern Hub scheme including the Sheffield to Manchester improvements could be included in an improvements programme for the next five years, which is set to be approved later this year.