A NEW railway station could be built in Rotherham as part of efforts to generate economic growth in South Yorkshire.
A study has concluded that the existing Rotherham Central station cannot be modernised in a way that would allow the range of services a town of its size should expect.
The consultants asked to look at Rotherham’s rail options have suggested the building of a new station dubbed Rotherham Parkgate.
It has been estimated the cost of the new station could be up to £53.2 million and deliver economic benefits worth more than £100 million.
If the project went ahead it is anticipated Parkgate would be used for longer distance “inter-regional” travel while local services and the proposed tram-train would continue to serve Rotherham Central.
The Sheffield City Region Combined Authority commissioned consultants to look at ways of improving Rotherham’s rail connections last year amid concerns that the limits of the existing line and services is hampering economci growth.
Looking at similar towns, the consultants judged Rotherham should have hourly services to Leeds and Manchester, three trains an hour to Doncaster and a service every ten minutes to Sheffield.
Considering all the options for improving Rotherham Central, the study found that even the most ambitious plan - costing an estimated £161 million - would deliver economic benefits worth just £76.2 million.
A report to be considered by the combined authority’s transport committee next week says the Parkgate proposal has been discussed by Rotherham councillors and council officers and “they would like to progress the study to the next stage, with regard to developing a mainline station at Parkgate.
If given the go-ahead, work will start on developing a full business case to present to the Government and discussions will begin with rail operators.
Meanwhile the next stage in the longrunning roadworks on the M1 is due to begin this week.
The £112 million project will see technology installed that is designed to monitor traffic levels and vary speed limits using overhead signs.
Highways England is also transforming the hard shoulder into an extra lane to carry traffic at busy times.
Narrow lanes will be installed in the current 50 mph limit zone between junction 32 and 34 to allow the latest phase of the work to be carried out.
Highways England senior project manager Andy Kirk said: “Work on the scheme is progressing well and we are now in a position to start the work between junctions 32 and 34.
“Narrow lanes are being introduced along the route and a 50mph speed limit is in place for the safety of workers and drivers.
“When complete, road users will benefit from reduced congestion and more reliable journey times as a result of the hard shoulder being converted to an extra lane and variable mandatory speed limits being used to keep traffic moving.”
The project, which started last winter, is expected to take another year to complete
Roadworks have already been lifted between junctions 30 and 31 along the M1 that were part of a separate smart motorway scheme.