Sheffield-Manchester trains: More fast services could be added soon as £145m upgrade nears completion
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The long-awaited Hope Valley line improvement work finally began last year and was originally scheduled to finish in December 2023, but Network Rail says it is now on course to be completed in spring 2024. It was initially estimated to cost £137m but that figure rose to £145m.
The work to remove bottlenecks between Manchester and Sheffield, enabling passenger trains to pass slower freight trains along the route, will make it possible to increase the number of fast trains between the two cities from two per hour to three.
When will extra fast trains between Sheffield and Manchester begin running?
It is not known how soon after the work is completed the extra trains will begin running as this is up to the operators to decide, when they draw up their new timetables.
The promise of extra trains will be a big boost for rail travel in and out of Sheffield, which last year lost its regular direct rail link to Manchester Airport, with passengers now having to change at Manchester Piccadillly, while HS2 is now unlikely to ever reach Sheffield.
In May this year, it was announced that Transpennine Express, which ran trains between Sheffield and Manchester, would lose its contract and be taken under government control, following months of delays and cancellations.
As well as creating a passing loop between Bamford and Hathersage, the Hope Valley line upgrade involves building a new platform and accessible footbridge with lifts at Dore & Totley station, with the new platform already taking shape.
A new bridge at Hathersage West, signalling improvements and platform extensions, enabling longer trains to serve stations along the route, are among the other changes being made.
In addition to enabling more trains to run, it is claimed the work will improve the reliability of trains between Manchester and Sheffield.
More disruption is due while the upgrade is compeleted, with railway line closures scheduled in November, December, January and March, and the car park at Dore & Totley station to be temporarily closed from October 3 - November 14, among other dates.
For more details of upcoming disruption, visit: www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/our-routes/north-and-east/the-hope-valley-railway-upgrade.