Meetings held on bid to reopen four stations and restore Sheffield rail link

Plans to reopen four long-closed railway stations and restore a former passenger service between Sheffield and Chesterfield are progressing.

Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 11:00 am

A proposal to reopen the Barrow Hill Line via Killamarsh was submitted to the Department for Transport last year.

North East Derbyshire MP Lee Rowley has backed the bid, saying the idea has ‘captured the imagination’ of people in the area.

Conservative Mr Rowley has now revealed he has held meetings with the new Minister for Rail, Wendy Morton.

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North East Derbyshire MP Lee Rowley meets with the new Minister for Rail, Wendy Morton, to discuss the Barrow Hill line proposal. Image: Lee Rowley, via Facebook.

He said he had made the case for the route to go to the next round of the Restoring Your Railway initiative, and receive extra funding.

Mr Rowley said: “If successful, re-opening the Barrow Hill line to passenger traffic could see train stations re-opened in Whittington, Barrow Hill/Staveley, Eckington/Renishaw and Killamarsh, and the return of a regular service.

"Last year, as part of the ‘Restoring Your Railway’ programme, and in conjunction with local councils, we submitted a initial bid and asked for approval to go into detailed design – and we are awaiting the results of that submission.

“I'll keep making the case for the line when down in Westminster – and hope we will hear something soon.”

The route, known by railway workers as the ‘Old Road’, was the original North Midland Railway line between Chesterfield and Rotherham.

In its heyday, thousands of passengers used the route regularly, with stations open at Whittington, Barrow Hill, for Staveley, Renishaw, for Eckington, and Killamarsh.

It closed to passenger traffic more than 60 years ago, although the route remains in use for freight trains and diverted passenger trains.

Mr Rowley said: “The reopening of the line has captured the imagination of residents over the course of the last eight months and there is a huge groundswell of support to take this project forward.”

In January 2020, the Government announced a new £500-million Restoring Your Railway fund and invited councils and community groups across England and Wales to propose how they could use funding to reinstate axed local services.

The Barrow Hill scheme was then one of 10 shortlisted to progress to the next stage and since May 2020, a group comprising councils, the Sheffield City Region, Mr Rowley and others have been working on a strategic outline business case.