SHEFFIELD CITY REGION
In July 2019, Sheffield City Region Mayor, Dan Jarvis, launched the Sheffield City Region Integrated Rail Plan. The plan recognises that there needs to be ongoing investment in the local and regional rail network. Key elements of the plan include a futher upgrade of the Hope Valley Line and significant upgrades of the railway station at Sheffield.
HOPE VALLEY RAILWAY 125TH ANNIVERSARY
The Buxton Advertiser has an interesting article about the Hope Valley line and how it avoided closure following Dr Beeching’s Report.
THE MINUTES OF THE AGM 2019
can be dowloaded: AGM 2019 Minutes
TRANSPORT FOR THE NORTH
Transport for the North is the UK’s first sub-national transport body, formed of the North’s 20 local transport authorities, business leaders, Network Rail, Highways England, HS2 Ltd and Central Government. It advises Government on transport priorities.
In February 2019 Transport for the North launched its Strategic Transport Plan. The Plan shows that transport links in the North are inadequate and a major constraint on the North’s economy. Rail users have increased but lack of investment means that the network suffers from congestion, low speeds, poor punctuality and little capacity for growth. Road transport is no better. The M62 is the only cross-Pennine motorway and the M1, M6 and M56 are heavily congested.
The Plan aims to improve access to leisure, tourism and jobs, connect businesses and help the movement of goods and freight. It proposes to improve capacity and frequency of rail links between northern cities and – particularly relevant for us – to make
- Significant upgrades to the corridor of the Hope Valley Line between Sheffield and Manchester (via Stockport).
The Plan also identifies seven ‘Strategic Development Corridors’ for improvement, of which the most relevant to the Hope Valley line are
- Southern Pennines – road and rail connectivity between economic centres and ports in Liverpool City Region, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Sheffield City Region, East Riding and Hull and Humber, and cross-border movements to the Midlands.
- West Coast – Sheffield City Region – rail connectivity between the economic centres on the West Coast corridor … and Sheffield City Region, with improved connectivity from the North into Scotland and the Midlands.
The plan commits to a ‘tap-in’ smart and integrated ticketing system which can be used on all public transport in the North.
We can only hope that these plans come to fruition. Transport for the North prioritises the Hope Valley Capacity Improvement Scheme but, unfortunately, the decision about when it will be put into action lies with the Department for Transport.
IMPROVING THE RAIL SERVICE IN THE HOPE VALLEY
The Hope Valley Railway Users Group has produced a major report, ‘Improving the Rail Service in the Hope Valley’. It was based on a survey of residents. The survey produced an excellent response, from over 40% of households in some villages, of whom 60% said they would use the rail service more frequently if there were a better timetable. This suggests an extra 30,000 return journeys per year by residents alone. If tourists are added in, this could mean an almost 50% increase in usage.
Before the 2018 timetable improvements, the stopping service used to be one of the least frequent in the country, despite it connecting the major cities of Sheffield and Manchester through a popular part of the Peak District. For substantial parts of the day and evening, and all day Sundays, the trains used to run only every two hours.
An excellent article in Today’s Railways UK magazine (3.2MB PDF) about the Hope Valley line is reproduced here by kind permission of the publishers Platform 5 Publishing