A SCHEME which will aim to reduce delays and improve reliability on the congested Sheffield-Manchester rail route has moved a step closer to reality.
The news has been welcomed by the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership which has been a long-standing supporter and promoter of the improvement.
The decision, taken by the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, was to approve the granting of the Transport and Works Act order which is a key step to secure much-needed improvements to the Hope Valley line.
The Hope Valley route between Bamford and Dore is affected by slow freight trains. The planned improvements will allow passenger trains to overtake. Currently two fast passenger trains an hour and one stopping train every two hours use the line. The scheme would allow that to rise to three fast trains per hour and one stopping train each hour.
Under the Northern Hub plans a 1,000-metre loop would be built at Bamford alongside the existing line, and the Hathersage West foot crossing replaced with a footbridge. At Dore, the Dore South Curve will be extended and the capacity of Dore and Totley Station improved including a second track through the station.
Martin McKervey, lead member for transport on the SCR Local Enterprise Partnership Board, and a member of the Transport for the North Partnership Board, said: “Improved rail connections to Manchester are a key SCR priority and something we have been pressing very hard for with ministers, and something the private and public sectors have been working together to achieve for some time.”