Bid to Open Don Valley Railway Submitted (Fingers crossed!)

Sheffield City Region Mayoral Authority supported by Miriam Cates MP and Don Valley Railway submitted their bid to re-open the Don Valley Line to the ‘Restoring Your Railway’ Ideas Fund on 16 March.

The Department for Transport (DfT) invited MPs, local councils and community groups across England and Wales to propose how they could use funding to reinstate axed local services and restore closed stations.

Following our initial expression of interest at the end of February, along with about 70-80 other bids, DfT plan to present a short-list of proposals to a panel of experts, chaired by the Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, who visited Stocksbridge last year.

With the presentation planned to take place at the end of March, the fast and changing Coronavirus situation has overtaken government working and understandably the schedule is likely to be delayed.

Don Valley Railway’s bid for funding will need to focus on making the strategic and economic case for the scheme, as well as setting out any recognised challenges. This will largely focus on setting out the Social and Economic Benefits it brings.

The Bid will set out journey opportunities created and provide forecasts of the expected demand. It will also reference economic opportunities such as improved tourism and links to employment for areas with particular economic challenges. Links to new housing or critical infrastructure such as to education or healthcare will also be of high strategic importance.

The Bid will consider the frequency of service and interactions with the existing railway. Liberty Steel who operate freight on the line are very supportive of aspirations to bring passenger trains to Stocksbridge. Discussions investigating ways to accommodate both passenger services alongside freight will be important.

DfT have offered up to 75% of costs up to £50,000 of proposals going forward to help fund transport and economic studies and deliver an initial business case.

Another three bids have been proposed by Sheffield City Region: A proposal for a new line via a re-opened Askern Station, The North Midland Line from Barnsley to Leeds via Royston and re-introduction of passenger services on the line from Sheffield to Chesterfield via Barrow Hill which may include options for DVR that run through services onto this line.

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