Tuesday, January 10, 2017

News: Usage down at Rotherham Central

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The estimated number of users at Rotherham Central has fallen after an increase in the previous year.

Undergoing a £10.4m redevelopment and re-opening in 2012, the estimated number of users peaked at 718,082 in 2014 - 2015 but this has dropped to 689,540 for 2015 - 2016.

Rotherham Central Station opened in 1987 and is located on a branch line constructed to serve the new station. Previously Rotherham's main railway station was located in Masbrough, and was served by mainline railway services. However, Rotherham Central was considered a more convenient location due to its proximity to the town centre.

The figures are produced by the Office of Rail and Road and station usage is estimated using ticket sales as many UK station's are without barriers. Journeys associated with ticketless travel are not included.

In comparison to Rotherham, Sheffield Midland had an estimated 9.2 million users for 2015 - 2016, up slightly on the previous year. Meadowhall's station saw 2.1 million estimated users, slightly down from 2.2m in the previous year. Swinton station in Rotherham had 390,730 estimated users in 2015 - 2016, down from 402,972 in 2014 - 2015.

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The opposition Labour party has highlighted the rising cost of rail travel as a price increase came into force at the start of 2017.

Annual season tickets from Sheffield Meadowhall to Leeds have risen by £512 or 26% since 2010. These trains travel through Rotherham and Barnsley, stopping at Rotherham Central, Swinton, Bolton-on-Dearne, Goldthorpe and Thurnscoe.

Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey, said: "Train users in Rotherham and Barnsley have been hit again and again by eye-watering rail fare rises. Fares here have gone up by 26 per cent under the Tories, far outstripping any increase in most people's pay packets.

"For many people here travelling by train isn't a luxury, it's how they get to work every day.

"Labour's policy is to bring the railways into public ownership so they can be run for passengers not profit. That means fairer fares, investment in a 21st century railway and giving passengers a stronger voice."

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.

Northern Rail, which serves Rotherham Central, is operated by Arriva, one of Europe's leading transport operators, until at least 2025.

In 2015, consultants stated that the only viable way to improve rail services to Rotherham is to build a brand new £14m station at Parkgate.

A new railway station on the mainline would take advantage of services that currently pass through the borough but do not stop. A new station at Parkgate station could benefit from direct services to Sheffield, Doncaster, Manchester and its airport, Cleethorpes, Hull, York, Newcastle, Reading and a potential new service to connect to Leeds.

Partners are waiting on the Government's new station fund.

Rotherham Central would continue to play an important role by providing key local connections, particularly Rotherham to Sheffield. Usage at Rotherham Central is set to be boosted when the innovative Tram-Train services eventually begin running in the Summer of 2018.

Images: AHR Global


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