Hope Valley Railway Users’ Group was reconstituted in September 2008 with the aim of improving the Hope Valley service. Our key objective is to increase the frequency of services that stop in the Hope Valley. We are a membership organisation, and currently have more than one hundred members, most of whom are regular users of the Hope Valley line.
The 2017 AGM will be held on Thursday 15th June at 7.30pm in the Hathersage Memorial Hall
More Trains for the HopeValley?
If you live in or near the Hope Valley in the Peak District there is a strong possibility that you have used the Hope Valley Railway line. Carrying passengers between Sheffield and Manchester, the railway travels through one of the most beautiful parts of the Peak District National Park. Yet despite this, the Hope Valley railway is one of the worst train services in England with trains running just every two hours for much of the day. The Hope Valley Railway Users Group (HVRUG) has been striving for some time to improve this service and now there is a real opportunity for you to do something to help this campaign.
The Department for Transport [DfT] has just announced its “stakeholder consultation” for the new rail franchise for the line, which starts in February 2016. This invites interested people and organisations to get in touch and tell the DfT what sort of a service they would like to see in the Hope Valley before the 18th August 2014.
Surveys carried out by HVRUG clearly show that the railway is highly valued by residents and tourists alike, and that passenger numbers have been increasing despite the limited service. Data from the Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR) also shows a 60% increase in passenger numbers in the last ten years. Four of the five Hope Valley stations register a passenger ‘footfall’ of over 60,000 per year, which, according to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) in their Rail Policy 2012 – 2025, justifies the provision of 2 trains an hour. However, the DfT stakeholder consultation document promises nothing in the way of improved services and even hints that they could get worse.
In December 2011, with support of organisations such as the Community Rail Partnership (CRP), HVRUG managed to achieve an additional train in both directions in the early evening. In 2012 its major survey of Hope Valley residents, found 60% of respondents would use the rail service more for both commuting and leisure, if there was a better timetable. 40% of households in some parishes responded showing how important the railway line is to the Valley. HVRUG believes that this line has untapped potential to attract significantly more visitors to the Peak District, boosting the local economy whilst helping reduce the level of road traffic and parking problems.
Although HVRUG has several proposals for improving the service, including ticket machines on all stations and a better system for the collection of fares, there is one overriding priority:
- an hourly train service all day, every day, with all trains stopping at all stations.
The DfT consultation document means that this is the right time for interested parties – residents, businesses and tourists alike – to make their voices heard and to make the case for an improved service. You can contact them by email or at Northern TPE Consultation Co-ordinator, 4/15 Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 4DR
Please take this opportunity to express your views concerning the proposed new franchise and your wish to see a better train service in the Hope Valley.
NB. It is important to do this before the 18th August 2014 when the consultation ends. More information is available on this government website. Alternatively you can download the consultation document directly here (2.3MB pdf).