Stocksbridge to Sheffield City Centre in eleven minutes – can you help?
A GROUP of local volunteers is looking for South Yorkshire residents to join its campaign to have rail services restored once more along the Sheffield to Stocksbridge railway line, last used in regular service for passengers between Deepcar and Sheffield in 1959.
In 2010, the Don Valley Railway commissioned a feasibility study that confirmed the viability of a half-hourly non-stop diesel multiple unit shuttle service would have a capital start-up of around £4.3 million. This figure is inflated to take into account “optimism bias” in accordance with Government rules and may be reduced with cheaper vehicles such as Parry People Movers, pioneered in 2009 on the Stourbridge Line in the West Midlands.
Recently however, in May, the Department for Transport announced £58 million funding for the groundbreaking Sheffield to Rotherham tram-train project and the implications for Don Valley Railway have not been ignored, with Stocksbridge Town Council taking an interest in the tram-train approach despite this method incurring greater costs.
The importance of this project for the local area cannot be overstated, as it will provide relief for the congested A6102 with a far lower cost to a road widening scheme and greater environmental benefits for the approximately 14,000 adults who live in the Don Valley area. Support is growing for the project – in 2006 a petition attracted around 1,200 supporters and this has shown that the project has significant support.
Current activities involve differentiating between various options and deciding which will be cost effective and deliver a great rail service to South Yorkshire residents. Don Valley Railway is currently holding talks regarding these options, with the various local and national bodies that would be associated with the project, to decide the next steps.
These are exciting times but local enthusiasm for the project is vital and the Don Valley Railway is asking locals to join in with monthly drop-in meetings at The Harlequin, Nursery Street, Sheffield, at 1900 on the first Thursday of every month. The project can now be followed on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/donvalleyrailway