Business leaders say £300m rail investment 'could be great' for Sheffield

Sheffield railway station.
Sheffield railway station.
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Business leaders have welcomed a £300 million boost to rail infrastructure in the north - but say more detail of what will be done in Sheffield is needed.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said the money would be used to ensure Sheffield and other northern cities could link up with the HS2 route.

A further £100 million will go into road schemes to cut congestion and unlock new sites for homes and businesses in the north, Mr Hammond told the Conservative Party conference in Manchester today.

HS2 trains will serve Sheffield via a spur into the city centre, rather than a station at Meadowhall as had been proposed.

The city's chamber of commerce executive director Richard Wright said: "The announcement from chancellor Philip Hammond about the additional funding is obviously good news but there isn't much detail at this stage.

"The funding could potentially mean that the improvements to Hope Valley, as well as the electrification and improvement to the loop into Sheffield from the HS2 line, get the go ahead.

"This would be great for the region because it means we will have access to a 30-minute train service to both Manchester and Leeds.

"We will, however, be awaiting further details with interest to get more information about what it means for the Sheffield City Region."

Mr Hammond told the conference that the new money would bring total transport in the north to £13 billion by 2020. He said it would 'future-proof' the region's rail network.

But the Government has been criticised in many quarters in Sheffield for dropping plans to electrify the Midland Mainline route from London St Pancras.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the £100 million of road spending will fund 33 schemes, 10 of which would be in the Yorkshire and Humber region, with details to be announced in due course.

He added: "We know delivering junction improvements and enhancing the traffic management will give better journey times will open access to sites for housing development and employment in the North of England."