Government responds after hundreds sign petition for Sheffield rail upgrade

Hundreds of people have backed a petition demanding more frequent trains on a railway line linking Sheffield and Huddersfield.

Monday, 20th January 2020, 2:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 5:04 pm

More than 600 people have signed a petition calling for a half-hourly service on the Penistone line, where trains currently run only every hour, and the Government has now responded saying money could be available for an upgrade.

The Penistone line runs between Sheffield and Huddersfield, via Penistone and Barnsley, and calls at stations including Chapeltown and Meadowhall.

The petition, launched by Kirklees councillor Will Simpson and addressed to transport secretary Grant Shapps, calls upon the Government to ‘invest in the Penistone line for a half hourly service’.

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The Penistone line runs from Sheffield to Huddersfield via Barnsley

“The potential of our local rail network is being held back by inadequate infrastructure, which has restricted the service to one train per hour,” it states.

“This reduces the utility of the service to commuters, provides a poor service to residents and suppresses demand - hereby increasing congestion on our roads and leading to less sustainable travel.”

The petition claims that a ‘modest investment’ in additional passing places on the track would make it possible to double the frequency of trains and ‘unleash the potential of our rail network’.

“We are calling upon the Government to use the upcoming budget to keep its promise to northern communities like ours by making this small investment, which could have a transformational impact on our local public transport network,” it continues.

The petition was launched two weeks ago and has already been signed more than 600 times, with one signatory claiming the line is ‘desperate for investment’ and others claiming the proposed upgrade would reduce traffic congestion and be of ‘huge benefit’ to communities along the route.

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “As part of the Sheffield City Region Integrated Rail Plan, the SCR will be exploring opportunities for increasing the frequency of services on the Penistone line over the next few years.

“We welcome this initiative and look forward to discussing the findings with the City Region should they wish to seek funding from the Government’s Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline.”

The Penistone line is operated by Northern, with the journey from Sheffield to Huddersfield taking 1 hour 15 minutes.