The proposal to re-open the Don Valley Railway line between Sheffield and Stocksbridge will be discussed at a meeting between the Department for Transport and local MP Miriam Cates in June.
Mrs Cates, the Member of Parliament for Penistone and Stocksbridge, submitted a bid to the Government’s Restoring Your Railway Fund in February, having worked closely with the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority and the Don Valley Railway campaign group on a plan to bring passenger trains back to the existing freight line. This was considered by a panel of ministers and industry experts in May, and ten schemes across the country were given initial funding to begin a feasibility study. Although the Stocksbridge proposal was not included in this initial group of ten, officials from the Department for Transport have invited Mrs Cates and the SCR to discuss further details of the plans with them.
Commenting on the latest developments Miriam Cates MP said, ‘whilst I am disappointed that we were not given the funding to begin work immediately, I am pleased to have received assurances from Government officials that the Stocksbridge scheme is one that they see great possibilities for.
‘These further meetings to discuss the precise details of the plans are necessary because the original intention of submitting the proposal to the panel in person was unable to happen due to the coronavirus outbreak. I am confident that once myself and the SCR have had chance to discuss the details with the Department for Transport we will be able to see further progress on this important project before long.’
Another scheme covering part of Sheffield was included in the initial group of ten, with the Barrow Hill line from Sheffield to Chesterfield via Beighton receiving funding for a feasibility study. This has the potential to enhance the case for the line to Stocksbridge as the two routes are likely to meet at the old Sheffield Victoria station, with possibility for through trains in the future.
This news was welcomed by Chris Bell, Chairman of the Don Valley Railway group, who said that ‘the successful bid to reinstate scheduled passenger services on Barrow Hill Line between Sheffield and Chesterfield appears to be something of a catalyst for the Don Valley Railway. There are clear synergies between the two projects with the former Sheffield Victoria station having a part to play, so I remain optimistic about the future development of the line.’