Call for FOUR fast trains an hour between Sheffield and Manchester

Clive Betts MP
Clive Betts MP
Have your say

An MP has called for the number of fast trains between Sheffield and Manchester to be doubled from two an hour to four.

The Government finally gave the go-ahead this month for a long awaited upgrade to the Hope Valley line, paving the way for three fast trains an hour between the two cities.

But Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts believes this work would make a fourth express service possible, dramatically transforming connections.

"The idea initially was for a new line between Sheffield and Manchester. If what we're having to settle for is an improvement to the Hope Valley line, we have to push for the best improvement possible," he said.

READ MORE: Huge boost in number of trains between Sheffield and Manchester welcomed
"We're talking about two major cities here, and I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a quarter-hourly service.

"There's also the challenge of getting the extra trains in and out of Sheffield station. We have to keep the pressure on for a capacity upgrade at the station."

Mr Betts made the comments after quizzing transport minister Jo Johnson this week about whether the Government had assessed the potential financial merits of adding more fast trains.

Mr Johnson responded that the Department for Transport had done so, but that this assessment would need to be refreshed as part of 'further work' on this scheme'.

READ MORE: Rival bid could yet scupper plans for more fast trains from Sheffield to Manchester
Transport secretary Chris Grayling earlier this month gave Network the go-ahead to upgrade the Hope Valley line, making it easier for fast trains to pass stopping services and slower freight carriages.

His decision was widely welcomed by transport groups in Sheffield, who have long been pushing for improvements to be made.

But Sheffield Chamber of Commerce sounded a note of caution, warning that Sheffield could yet miss out on any benefit if a new hourly service from Leicester to Manchester via that line is instead provided.

Network Rail hopes to begin the upgrade next year and says the improvements could take up to three years to complete. Once the work is complete, it added, any service changes will be a matter for the train operators.