THE potential closure of the Stocksbridge steelworks is a massive threat to the local community. Hopefully, the plant can remain open but, sadly, many local residents may need to look for jobs elsewhere.
To do so, good transport options are essential. Fortunately, Stocksbridge is served by a railway line, albeit one that is currently freight only.
The opportunity must be grasped to return this railway to passenger use. This could either be a conventional rail service serving a reopened Sheffield Victoria station and maybe continuing to Chesterfield via Barrow Hill, or to Retford for east Coast Main Line connections.
Alternatively, it could be a tram train starting in the centre of Stocksbridge and joining the Supertram network in central Sheffield. In the future, the line from Stocksbridge to Penistone could be re-opened, not only connecting Stocksbridge to Penistone, but giving a faster direct service between Sheffield, Penistone and Huddersfield.
If the Government is serious about levelling up, this should be one of its priorities. Public transport between Sheffield and Stocksbridge is poor, and communities along the way such as Oughtibridge and Deepcar would also benefit from a passenger service along the line.
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