YP Letters: Our long fight to improve facilities at Dore & Totley railway station

From: Chris Morgan, Chairman, Friends of Dore & Totley Station, Sheffield.

Improvements are taking time at Dore & Totley Station.
Improvements are taking time at Dore & Totley Station.

AS chairman of the Friends of Dore & Totley Station, my attention has been drawn to Tom Richmond’s column (The Yorkshire Post, November 3).

Our group is very active in endeavouring to improve facilities at our little station, reduced from a junction with four active platforms to two in the 1960s (when it just escaped being closed altogether), then to a single platform in 1985.

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We’re only the 177th most busy station out of the 478 managed by Northern. We know our place – but it would be nearer 150th if all fares were collected!

The difficulty is that although we’re four miles out of Sheffield, 60 per cent of commuters are going the 40 miles towards Manchester. Consequently it is TransPennine Express who make most of the money from a few fast trains that stop at commuting times.

In early 2017, it was finally accepted that more shelter was needed and that something had to be done, but there was no money to do it. We didn’t give up.

A canopy will be erected early in 2019, as soon as structural design work is completed and permissions obtained from all the parties involved (a story in itself). The Friends have convinced TPE that they should contribute, as are the High Peak & Hope Valley Community Rail Partnership. Northern has found the balance.

This has been an incredibly frustrating process. We had hoped the canopy would be up by October, then before Christmas. The latest estimate is the end of January.

The ticket machine is another story. As the sun rose higher, the heat became too much and the machine over-heated, causing the screen to slowly black out, and eventually it closed down. Many times, on most days. I was calling Northern almost every day and encouraged others to do the same. Paul Barnfield, Northern’s Area Manager, and others came to the station and saw the machine out of action for themselves.

The issue was not confined to Dore & Totley. That type of machine was being installed, and failing, across the North. We understand stronger cooling fans are being installed retrospectively. In our case, the machine is also to be repositioned, but after the last failure the permissions needed from all parties are being more carefully considered! We’ve been asked and had our say.

In the meantime the strong summer sunshine has gone, so we won’t know if the remedial works have cured the problem until about May.