HS2 Sheffield: Crumbs for city from government’s flagship £96bn rail plan revealed
Sheffield’s crumbs from the Government’s £96bn rail plan include electrification of a mainline ‘by around 2030’ and 30 minutes off journeys to London by the ‘early-mid 2040s’.
The flagship report also states planned upgrades on the Hope Valley Line between Manchester and Sheffield ‘will be completed’ - but £137m for this scheme was announced in March.
Electrification of Midland Mainline was announced in 2013 but cancelled in 2017 to save money.
Now it is back on. Completion will allow the electric HS2 trains to transfer to old rail lines to reach Sheffield where the new tracks stop in the East Midlands.
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Elsewhere, schemes are referred to but not given a date, including improvements to services between Sheffield and Leeds.
The plans have been condemned by northern leaders for ditching HS2 through Yorkshire and a new high speed line between Manchester and Leeds.
Both were supported by Miriam Cates, Conservative MP for Stocksbridge.
But following a ‘change of mind’ she said she supported the downgraded proposals.
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She said: “This package of investment - the biggest ever in the UK - is really positive for Sheffield and South Yorkshire. It will deliver faster journeys and better connectivity 10 years earlier than if we had waited for HS2, and will benefit far more of our communities locally.
“Earlier this year I changed my mind about HS2 because I realised it was the wrong solution to Sheffield's transport problems.
“People tell me they want to see real improvements to the journeys they make every day, not a brand-new line down to London. The investment announced in the Integrated Rail Plan will still cut the journey time to London by around 30 minutes, but will also save money that can be spent upgrading and improving our local and regional rail services.”
“Local people will enjoy far more benefit from schemes like reopening the Stocksbridge rail line, upgrading the Penistone Line, and improving journey times between Sheffield and Leeds then they ever would from building the eastern leg of HS2.”
All three schemes are separate from and not mentioned in the IRP.
She added: “Combined with the recently announced upgrade of the line to Manchester, this plan will see real benefits delivered far quicker than HS2 ever could.”