Sheffield still waiting for cash promised by Government for improved rail links to Manchester

Sheffield is still waiting for Government cash promised to improve rail connectivity to Manchester.

Friday, 14th September 2018, 6:12 pm
Updated Friday, 14th September 2018, 6:17 pm

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling promised around £30 million to improve journey times along the Hope Valley Line back in February.

But South Yorkshire metro mayor Dan Jarvis has said the region hasn't yet received the cash which would add an extra fast train to Manchester every hour.

A Northern train on the Hope Valley Line heading to Manchester from Sheffield. Picture: Jason Chadwick

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The new line would also benefit Doncaster due to its position on the TransPennine route.

The route between Bamford and Dore is affected by slow freight trains but the improvements would allow passenger trains to overtake. and the planned improvements will allow passenger trains to overtake.

A 1,000-metre loop would be built at Bamford along the existing railway line, and the Hathersage West foot crossing replaced with a footbridge.

The Dore South Curve will also be extended and Dore and Totley station will get a second line.

Chairwoman of Hope Valley Railway Users Group Kath Aspinwall said she was disheartened by the news

Currently, two fast passenger trains an hour and one stopping train every two hours currently use the line, but the scheme would allow that to rise to three fast trains per hour and one stopping train each hour.

Mr Jarvis, who represents the Sheffield City Region on the Transport for the North board said mayors and council leaders across the north of England received an update on the TransPennine route upgrade and the Strategic Transport Plan consultation.

The mayor also met with Jo Johnson, the Minister of State for the Department of Transport, to discuss the Hope Valley line and the Transforming Cities fund bid.

South Yorkshire would receive around £120 million of Government money to spend on infrastructure if successful.

South Yorkshire metro mayor Dan Jarvis said he was pressing Government to release the funding. Picture: Andrew Roe/The Star

Mr Jarvis said: 'I have made it very clear that we need to push forward and ask the Government to release the funding that has already been agreed to upgrade the Hope Valley Line.

'The funding is relatively modest in comparison to the TransPennine route upgrade funding. However, this scheme will create capacity for a third fast train per hour between Manchester and Sheffield and beyond to Doncaster, which will help our economy grow even further.

'It is vital that we have immediate access to the funding that was agreed to allow the scheme to progress.'

The mayor, who is also MP for Barnsley Central, said South Yorkshrie has an out-of-date transport system which is 'chronically short' of investment.

'We have an antiquated transport system that is chronically short of investment and that doesn't move the residents or businesses around the region as it should," he said.

'Journey times and experiences between the urban centres of Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster and Sheffield are simply not acceptable and Doncaster Sheffield Airport isn't yet connected to regional or national train services.

"Through the Transforming Cities Fund we have an opportunity to resolve some of these issues and we now need the Government to provide us with the funding so we can get on with the job.'

Kath Aspinwall, chairwoman of Hope Valley Railway Users Group, said she was disheartened by the news. 

'Cynically, I'm, not surprised by this.

'We can't understand why this isn't higher on the agenda '“ this is very disheartening the money hasn't been passed on yet. 

'Sheffield and Manchester are both bustling cities and between them is the Peak District, one the most visited national parks. 

'The planned work would be a massive boost adding an extra fast train. It can't come soon enough.'