Wednesday, July 30, 2014

News: New study into Rotherham rail connectivity

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The South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) is looking to identify the level of rail service required to support Rotherham's economic and transport needs.

The SYPTE works in partnership with the local councils and transport service operators to manage public transport infrastructure, run the local bus, train and tram services and provide walking and cycling routes.

The executive is appointing experts to carry out a Rotherham Rail Connectivity Study to inform stakeholders of the level of rail service required to support Rotherham's economic and transport needs, setting out how these align with the overall public transport network. If the study determines that additional rail services are required, it should set out how to deliver them in the most cost effective way.

The study will look at if the existing infrastructure can support the services needed or what changes are required if the infrastructure isn't up to scratch.

For a town of its size and economic importance Rotherham has only three services per hour, operating at irregular intervals and with comparatively slow journey times. The town centre is benefitting from a £8.5m redevelopment of the station but there are perceived to be a number of physical constraints restricting an increase in service level to Rotherham, including numerous flat junctions, single track sections such as the Holmes Chord and lack of capacity at the main destinations (i.e. Sheffield, Leeds and Doncaster).

SYPTE joined forces with other transport organisation across the North of England to create Rail North. It commissioned a strategy to set the agenda for the specification and management of future passenger rail franchising in the North should responsibility be devolved from central Government for the Northern and Transpennine rail franchises. The Government is however looking to establish a partnership rather than full devolution.

The strategy identifies Rotherham as key urban centre which should have direct links to the main urban centres in the North - Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Liverpool - and also to London and Manchester Airport.

Earlier this year, Network Rail finalised its investment plan for the period to 2019 which includes the Tram Train trial to Sheffield but doesn't address capacity and performance issues on the Sheffield – Rotherham – Leeds line. Consultation is underway regarding the next TransPennine Express (TPE) and Northern rail franchises that are being re-let in 2016.

SYPTE website

Images: Bailey Total Building Envelope

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