Sheffield set for boost after 'substantial' improvement to rail services to London
Sheffield is set for a post-pandemic economic boost after a ‘substantial’ improvement to rail services to London.
East Midlands Trains announced trains would be faster, earlier, later and more frequent following a campaign which united the city.
From May 16, some 20 minutes will be sliced off a morning trip to the capital, reducing the time from 2hr 25mins to just over two hours.
The first train to London will leave an hour earlier - just after 7am - while the last train home will leave at 11.15pm, almost an hour later than currently.
The first arrival into Sheffield will be 8am, some 25 minutes earlier than today.
Services between the two cities will be doubled on Sunday afternoons and evenings, from one train an hour to two.
The changes were announced following two years of lobbying by Sheffield Chamber, Sheffield City Council, the City Region and others.
Peter Kennan, chair of the transport forum at Sheffield Chamber, said they had worked hard to convince the rail company of the importance of the improvements - and he was delighted.
He added: "These improvements have taken time and some serious effort to secure and the Covid pandemic has delayed things. However, the major improvements set to begin on 16 May 2021 are really welcome.
“Faster and earlier rail services into London are great for business and the doubling in the Sunday afternoon and evening service is really important for students and for weekend trips away.
“Even though travel is perhaps the last thing on most people's mind at the moment, we have to look beyond the pandemic and to the benefits the improvements will bring to the local economy, making it easier for visitors to come, stay and enjoy what is happening in Sheffield."
The improvement comes after growing calls for rail investment in Sheffield. A train derailment in November highlighted the poor state of the city’s network after decades without ‘significant investment.’
It is the largest city and busiest station not on the electrified network, its position on the HS2 route is uncertain and the main benefits of Northern Powerhouse Rail are further away still.