Bid to restore passenger rail services between Stocksbridge and Sheffield
In early March, I was pleased to join Sheffield City Region in submitting a bid to restore passenger rail services on the Don Valley Line between Stocksbridge and Sheffield Victoria. This bid has been made as part of the Government's Restoring Your Railway programme which seeks to reverse some of the damage done to local rail networks by the Beeching Axe almost 60 years ago.
My involvement in the campaign to restore passenger rail services to this line began some time before I was elected as the MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, and it continues to be a campaign that I'm passionate about. I firmly believe that by improving public transport connectivity we create opportunities to level up the economic and social life of our communities, whilst also solving some of the day-to-day transport problems that we face here in the Upper Don Corridor.
If successful, we will be given funding to develop a full business case and to undertake the necessary feasibility studies and environmental surveys. This in turn will open up the possibility of securing the investment needed to upgrade the tracks and rebuild the stations.
Don Valley line proposal
It should be the ambition of every elected representative and every government to help our communities to flourish. Stocksbridge is on the verge of being able to do that, but without the connectivity that a rail service brings, I fear we will once again be prevented from achieving it.
Our proposal includes:
- New stations at Stocksbridge, Deepcar, Oughtibridge, Wadsley Bridge and Neepsend,
- Two trains per hour running between Stocksbridge and Sheffield Victoria.
- The potential to extend beyond Sheffield to Chesterfield and Lincoln, joining North Sheffield up to the wider rail network.
Boosting the benefit of the Stocksbridge Town Deal
Restoring the Stocksbridge Sheffield passenger rail link will significantly boost the ability of Stocksbridge and surrounding areas to benefit from the £24 million Town Deal investment that was announced in the Budget. Improving connectivity and public transport will help the town to make the most of new economic opportunities whilst opening up access to new jobs and training across the city. It will connect with the new local bus network serving Stocksbridge and Deepcar, and make public transport a genuine option for local people for the first time in many years.
Upgrading the Penistone Line
As part of my wider plan to improve public transport connectivity across the Penistone and Stocksbridge constituency, I am also working with colleagues in West Yorkshire on a proposal to upgrade the Penistone Line. This would see increased frequency and improved stations, with two trains per hour serving Dodworth, Silkstone Common, and Penistone. This line has long been neglected compared to other commuter services, and I know local people will strongly support the improvements we are proposing.
You can read my submission letter for the Don Valley Line bid in full below.