Tuesday, October 6, 2015

News: New station for Rotherham?

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Despite having a revamped train station in the town centre and an abandoned station at Masbrough, the only viable way to improve rail services to Rotherham is to build a brand new £14m station at Parkgate, consultants have said.

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

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).

As part of the study, benchmarking shows that Rotherham's economy is not as strong as comparable centres and its rail connectivity is not as good. Improvements are needed to provide the level of connectivity set out in Rail North's Long Term Rail Strategy. The strategy identified 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.

The Rotherham Rail Connectivity Study has examined a number of options for improving connectivity. It has concluded that the desired connectivity cannot be provided using the existing infrastructure via Rotherham Central. It has also found that none of the options for upgrading this route represent value for money.
Dualling the Holmes Chord, which could lead to an extra three trains per hour, would cost an estimated £32.3m. Realigning the main line through Rotherham Central could cost £161.3m.

The lack of viable options for increasing capacity at Rotherham Central led to a consideration of a new station site, with Parkgate being the preferred location of the project team. All of the Parkgate station options represent high value for money, and also included the options of an additional Sheffield to Leeds service, boosting the perceived economic benefits.

A new mainline station at Parkgate would cost an estimated £14.1m and including new services to Leeds in the project would take it up to £53.2m.

The main disadvantage of developing a new station at Parkgate is the risk that it could take passengers away from Rotherham Central and the impact this could have on Rotherham town centre. This was considered in the study and whilst "some abstraction is projected, the retention of the existing local services through Rotherham Central and the introduction of the tram-train service will mitigate this, with a reinforcement of the role Rotherham Central currently has for local services."

The new station at Parkgate would cater for inter-regional services, in the form of a Parkway type station and would be complementary to the role of Rotherham Central.

The land adjacent to Parkgate Shopping Park has long been identified for development. Discussions are ongoing regarding a new link road to the site and the £60m tram-train pilot scheme, which will see innovative vehicles run from Sheffield through Meadowhall and Rotherham to Parkgate, presents an opportunity to provide park and ride facilities.

Senior council officers are said to be behind the proposals and commissioners and councillors and have stated that they would like to progress the study to the next stage. This involves establishing the feasibility of a new station at Parkgate, identifying funding sources, developing a business case to present to the Government, and discussing the commercial case with train operating companies and Network Rail.

Images: SYPTE

7 comments:

Anonymous,  October 6, 2015 at 10:16 AM  

The biggest improvement they could make right now is to install a ticket machine at Rotherham. I travel by train a lot and I always have to be one step ahead in order to collect my tickets that I buy online.

Anonymous,  October 6, 2015 at 12:47 PM  

Yes I agree they do need a ticket machine to collect train tickets like Sheffield has

Anonymous,  October 6, 2015 at 7:17 PM  

Parkgate is too far out from the centre of Rotherham also the fact with lots of recent developments in that area the traffic is really heavy!
Masborough is nearer & would be far better the study doesn't specify why this isn't a viable option !
If & when a new station is built let's hope it doesn't take as long as central did & it's built quality is better, the white roof already looks discoloured & grubby !

Anonymous,  October 6, 2015 at 10:28 PM  

Too far out

Mr me October 7, 2015 at 12:44 PM  

Parkgate is the only option for a parkway type station as nowhere else especially Masboro would have room for the large parking area required.Also to demolish Masboro old station and rebuild a new one would be far more expensive than a new build on a brown field site at Parkgate,i velieve the site in question is somewhere behind the gym near station hotel.

Anonymous,  October 13, 2015 at 7:13 PM  

It's RAILWAY station and not "train station". I wish people would stop using this incorrect, childish expression! Oh, and it's Masbrough... only the long defunct Midland Railway (later inherited by LMS and BR) used the incorrect spelling of Masborough.

Anonymous,  October 16, 2015 at 10:56 AM  

This is never going to happen. Who is going to use this station really? Are they really going to stop an transpennine express train at this station when it would only be 6 minutes to Meadowhall and probably 10 minutes to Doncaster? Better off getting the transpennine express to stop at Swinton once every 2 hours. Then get alternate cross country trains to stop at Rotherham Central (ie one hour coming from Leeds towards Sheffield and second hour coming from Doncaster towards Sheffield). If needs be then reroute one local train away from Rotherham Central and send it on the express line to provide line capacity for the cross country coming into Rotherham (the tram train will make up the shortfall). Easy. That took me all of two minutes. I wonder how much this study that has been commissioned cost then.

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