Sheffield-Stocksbridge train: Plans to restore passenger services gather pace as photos show overgrown tracks
and live on Freeview channel 276
This section of the route is still used by freight trains ferrying products to and from the steelworks at Stocksbridge.
It is understood fewer steel trains are using the tracks as Liberty Steel has cut down production in recent months at its Sheffield plant – though the vegetation growing around the line, giving the impression it is being slowly reclaimed by nature, is not believed to be connected to this.
However, more than 50 years after passenger services stopped running, plans to resurrect them between Sheffield city centre and the picturesque suburb of Stocksbridge are gathering pace.
The consultancy firm Arup has been appointed by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA), the Don Valley Railway campaign group revealed, to work on the Strategic Business Case for the Restoring Your Railways bid after the Government awarded £50,000 last autumn for the project.
The campaign group said SYMCA had informed members it was ‘getting on with that at pace given the limited time available’.
“Arup prepared the bid for the scheme so are familiar with it and have an ex-Network Rail officer leading the team, who is very experienced in rail planning. They are engaging with Network Rail and hopefully Liberty Steel to discuss use of their section of line beyond Deepcar,” added the group
“SYMCA are also hoping to employ a separate consultant to do some work on development plans and opportunities around the station sites. Arup are working on a draft SOBC. DVR have been invited to take part in the stakeholder liaison process Arup will present their work and seek input from DVR.”
Should plans to revive passenger services be approved, it is hoped that at least two trains an hour could run between Stocksbridge and the city centre, stopping at Deepcar, Oughtibridge, Wadsley Bridge, Neepsend and possibly even Kelham Island – with the potential for onward connections to Rotherham, Worksop and Chesterfield.
Earlier this month, plans to reopen the Barrow Hill line linking Sheffield and Chesterfield moved a step closer, progressing past the strategic outline business case phase along with eight other schemes in England and Wales.
That success could provide a boost for the Don Valley line plans because as well as new stations in Beighton, Killamarsh and Eckington, it would mean reopening the old Sheffield Victoria station, which it is hoped would also serve the Sheffield-Stocksbridge route.
Penistone & Stocksbridge MP Miriam Cates is backing the Don Valley line proposals.
Michael Barge, from her constituency office, said the strategic outline business case was on course to be submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT) in the autumn.
“Miriam and I are closely involved in helping to steer this process to ensure it focuses on all the potential benefits we've been talking about for all this time,” he added.
He said they remained confident the DfT would approve more funding for in-depth engineering and business case studies.
“Obviously this is a slow process, but major rail infrastructure always has been. Progress is definitely being made, and the case for restoring passenger services between Sheffield and Stocksbridge is as strong as ever,” he continued.