Sheffield trains: Integrated rail plan is 'a curate's egg' - reader's letter

The Integrated Rail Plan for the midlands and North is a curate’s egg.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 4:10 pm
One reader describes the integrated rail plan as a 'curate's egg'. Picture: Chris Etchells

It’s good in parts and less so in others.

Sheffield has at last got a commitment (50 years overdue) to electrified train services to and from the city.

Rejoice! This should be a major economic boost and ignite the local and regional economy.

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Some clarification on links to Leeds, Doncaster, Manchester and Birmingham would have been helpful.

This development at last puts Sheffield into a different league.

It has suffered by comparison to some much smaller cities and towns which have enjoyed fast, frequent and emissions free services for decades.

Some local wiring up to serve local towns now needs to be rolled into plans.

The now cancelled HS2 (E) project was flawed in that it was built on the premise that passengers between London and Sheffield would be dragooned into a routing option via the West Midlands.

This is when a perfectly adequate rail link, the Midland Main Line, is already in place and capable of being upgraded to deliver comparable journey times at a fraction of the cost of HS2.

The decision to “pause” and then cancel a previous electrification plan in 2017 has now been exposed for the short-term nonsense it so truly was.

The tsunami of adverse comment about the cancellation of the HS2 (E) sector seems to have been linked to the scaling back of other plans some of which also looked fragile at best.

There seems to be a lot of uninformed “expert” opinion about on this issue.

Mayoral rantings and expressions of disappointment from other lobby groups cut no ice.

The rail network needs to be delivering cost-competitive, attractive and reliable services (passenger and freight).

The announcement was a clear win for the city.

Philip N Mortimer

Bognor Regis, West Sussex, PO21