Sheffield's 10 key demands for better rail links as consultation nears end

The franchise is up for renewal in 2019
The franchise is up for renewal in 2019
0
Have your say

Business and community leaders in Sheffield have united to draw up a list of demands for better rail links to the city.

More fast trains to London, better links to Manchester, Nottingham and Liverpool, and 'significant' investment in Sheffield station are among their 10 key wishes.

Significant investment in Sheffield station is among the list of demands

Significant investment in Sheffield station is among the list of demands

They are set out in a joint response to the consultation on the new East Midlands rail franchise, which closes tomorrow.

The franchise includes the Midland Mainline between Sheffield and London St Pancras, and the Liverpool-Norwich route via Nottingham and Manchester, among other services.

It is currently operated by East Midlands Trains but is up for renewal in August 2019.

The Government is seeking people's views on its future before setting out its requirements and inviting bids for the new franchise.

Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore

Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore

Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership ( SCR LEP) has teamed up with South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, Sheffield Council and Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry to produce a joint submission stating their priorities for improving the city's rail connections.

Their response includes a call to reverse the recent decision to scrap plans to electrify the Sheffield-London line, which would have significantly cut journey times, and to speed up the introduction of more fast trains on the Hope Valley line between Sheffield and Manchester.

Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore said: "Electrification of the Midland Mainline is vital for improving transport connectivity for Sheffield and as part of the new franchise the government should reverse their damaging decision to scrap it.

"There has rightly been much focus on creating a new HS3 line connecting towns and cities across the north, but there are also real improvements that need to be made now to our existing Midland Mainline service.

"There should be a regular journey-time of under two hours to London, a seven-day railway with better services throughout the day including early morning, peak times, evenings and weekends and significant improvements to Sheffield Midland station and maintain and improve barrier-free accessibility. At the same time we need to be planning for the future improvements needed to enable HS3 and HS2 services into Sheffield."

Punctuality on the East Midlands franchise is above the national average, with 92 per cent of trains running on time, but customer satisfaction is slightly below average, at 83 per cent.

* You can view the consultation document and have your say via the Department for Transport website.

TEN KEY DEMANDS

1, Midland Mainline services - speed up peak hour Sheffield-London services by removing stops south of Leicester, and cut peak and off-peak journey times between two cities to less than two hours

2, Bi-mode trains - ensure new trains which can be powered by diesel and electricity have adequate standard class capacity, luggage space and toilet facilities, and do not replace entire inter-city fleet immediately due to lack of operating experience in UK

3, Liverpool-Norwich service - promote route to inter-city status, with better quality trains including first-class space and improved catering and business facilities

4, Hope Valley line - deliver the Hope Valley upgrade as soon as possible, providing a third hourly fast train between Sheffield and Manchester

5, Sheffield station - provide 'significant' investment to improve the customer experience and ensure it is 'fit for purpose' as a major city centre station. Ensure franchisee participates in plans to accommodate future HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail services

6, Local services - increase Lincoln-Doncaster connection from five trains daily to a regular hourly service, which could serve Doncaster Sheffield Airport via a potential new station at Finningley. Provide two trains an hour to Worksop on the Robin Hood line by extending hourly train currently terminating at Mansfield Woodhouse. Introduce more stopping services at both Dronfield and Dore and Totley stations

7, Customer service delivery - require franchisee to tackle antisocial behaviour by enforcing by-laws on trains and at stations

8, Weekend and public holiday services - ensure faster journey times between Sheffield and London on Sunday, with services finishing later on Saturdays and starting earlier on Sundays. Introduce some Boxing Day services

9, Servicing/staffing - Spread train servicing and crews more evenly across the network to avoid running empty trains over long distances. Most servicing and staffing is currently based in Nottingham and Derby

10, Fares and ticketing - Work with other operators to remove fare anomalies, which make it cheaper to split tickets for some journeys between Sheffield and Leicester or Birmingham. Introduce better advance purchase fares between Sheffield and London