Why Sheffield deserves better rail links than this – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: A Oldfield, Penistone and Sheffield Rail Users’ Association.

What is the future of rail services in Sheffied and the surrounding area?

The recent chequered history of the Penistone Line reveals a rough ride over the past four decades as a result of earlier decisions and the twin 1980s closure proposals. The survival of the Huddersfield-Penistone section confirms such. January 5, 1970, saw the closure of Sheffield Victoria and the loss of the Sheffield-Manchester electrified link. The ‘streamlined’, to quote British Rail (BR), Huddersfield-Penistone-Sheffield service began in January 1970.

In September 1980, BR issued the Sheffield (Nunnery Junction) – Denby Dale Closure Notice. On September 8, 1983, BR issued the Huddersfield (Springwood Junction)-Denby Dale Closure Notice. Yorkshire TUCC Chairman James Towler came to the rescue in 1984 by securing a ‘priceless’ year through his determination for parity from BR on closure notice reissuing to match that of Settle-Carlisle and Goole-Gilberdyke. He knew that the best hope for survival would be in a post Metropolitan County Council era.

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On January 22, 1987, The Yorkshire Post revealed that WYPTA would be recommended to resume support for our line from the October timetable and full support for an hourly timetable would commence in May 1988. By the end of the 1980s, our line hobbled from survival to stagnation. Retention had yielded 15 years of drift and this prompted the launch of our Eight Point Plan for the Penistone Line on January 18, 2002. The key to line development was infrastructure after the rationalisation measures. Reversing route rationalisation was vital.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

A railway pared back to the bone was incompatible with housing expansion in the communities along it.

How relevant are Transport for the North, Northern Powerhouse Rail, build back better and levelling-up agendas to the Penistone Line? Will any of them help to transform our line so that it can realise its full potential? What can be expected from the Sheffield City Region (SCR) and a the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA)? Penistone is an expanding town that is set for further growth, so why is rail excluded from the expansion process? Who will deliver a Penistone Line fit for the 21st century?

As we mark our 40th anniversary we welcome new members. Membership costs just £2 and cheques should be made payable to HPSRUA.

Contact The Membership Secretary, HPSRUA, 8A Ridings Fields, Brockholmes, Holmfirth HD9 7BG.

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