Letter: Who will grasp the opportunity to secure such investment?

This letter sent to the Star was written by A Oldfield, Secretary, Huddersfield, Penistone & Sheffield Rail Users’ Association

Monday, 6th September 2021, 6:56 am
Dyson House demolition at Sheaf Square, opposite the Midland Station

As well as investment on the Penistone line, which we hope will materialise from the bid to the Levelling-Up Fund co-sponsored by MPs Miriam Cates and Mark Eastwood, we welcome investment elsewhere on the rail network served by our trains.

Investment through the Trans-Pennine Route Upgrade will result in major improvements at Huddersfield, a scheme that will leave one glaring omission: Sheffield.

Given the great news concerning Ministry of Defence nationalisation of Sheffield Forgemasters, a decision that will yield significant investment, could this not be used as a lever to secure further investment in the city.

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Is this not the moment for Sheffield MPs to unite along with other leading figures to make a fresh call for full Midland Main Line electrification?

Did the Sheffield Property Association and London Property Association (The Star, August 13), not make specific reference to such in their representation to the Government?

Did they also actually quote electrification by citing that a rolling electrification programme is vital to avoid the costly dismantling of specialist teams when they should be erecting masts north towards Sheffield?

The Forgemasters decision will raise the standing of the city through generating more visits by key industrial and military chiefs, both national and international, who should be able to access Sheffield by means of a modern, efficient electrified railway, an essential big city facility.

Accompanying this must be Sheffield Station investment, which is crucial to the gateway of the city.

The station site is cramped, reflecting that the railway reached Sheffield relatively late compared to other cities.

The adjacent vacant land, the old Dyson House site, could be utilised for station expansion.

This would benefit the existing services and cater for future developments too. Has station expansion ever been considered?

Who will grasp the opportunity to secure such investment?

Should not all available tools be used to attract funding and does not the Forgemasters factor reflect this by offering a rare chance to capitalise on some good news that would weld steel and rail investment together?