Power Up The North by championing rail links for neglected Don Valley – Yorkshire Post letters

There are fresh calls to reopen the Woodhead Tunnel to improve rail links between Sheffield and Manchester.
There are fresh calls to reopen the Woodhead Tunnel to improve rail links between Sheffield and Manchester.
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From: A Oldfield, Secretary, Huddersfield, Penistone and Sheffield Rail Users’ Association, Long Lane, Worrall, Sheffield.

A LANDMARK occasion beckons for the Upper Don Valley, though it is one to regret. This is the 60th anniversary on June 15 of the closure of Deepcar, Oughtibridge and Wadsley Bridge stations.

The former Deepcar Station when put up for sale.

The former Deepcar Station when put up for sale.

What would these places give now to have their stations reopened given the growing concerns over air quality and wider environmental issues? The outlook appears bleak for a corridor noted for its creaking infrastructure with matters set to get worse through the 700 plus houses approved for Deepcar and Oughtibridge.

Is this not a recipe for disaster with these homes set to yield an additional 2,000 cars on the roads? Is this not an unsustainable cycle?

It can be avoided by a restored Woodhead line providing a link to cater for multi-directional commuting from classic commuting country, thus providing access with Manchester inside an hour for Deepcar, Oughtibridge and Wadsley Bridge.

Why can’t rail investment act as the economic enabler to drive Upper Don Valley recovery and regeneration? Why is rail not part of the overall planning process to yield economic and environmental benefits? Why were the Deepcar and Oughtibridge developments sanctioned without any reference to the railway?

Does not the absence of such reinforce that this corridor should be renamed the Victim Valley, for what other South Yorkshire passage has suffered the same long-term neglect? All the talk of connectivity has an hollow ring about it for the Upper Don Valley. If this applied to the animal world would there not have been charges of cruelty brought long ago?

Woodhead was the future in 1954 with the launch of the electrified Sheffield-Manchester line, and for the former it marked the peak of rail investment because in the 65 years since then all it has received is scraps.

This shows just how much ground Sheffield has to recover.

Woodhead is, and can, with a change of mentality, oozing investment, ideas and imagination, be the future.

Electrification is the future, and here is an electrification proven route awaiting restoration. Why no wires for Sheffield-Manchester? Contrast this with Edinburgh-Glasgow where all five routes are electrified. Is not 60 years of suffering enough? Where is the rail vision and voice of the Upper Don Valley? Who is championing the rail cause for the Upper Don Valley?