Monday, March 8, 2021

News: Region waits on Integrated Rail Plan

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Waiting for the Government to publish its Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands is not unlike waiting for a train in South Yorkshire. You're not quite sure when it will arrive and you wonder if you will end up feeling short changed.

The much anticipated document is expected to set out the long-term investment plans for the North’s rail upgrades as well as details on how the projects will be delivered.

It is hoped that a new mainline station in Rotherham is somewhere within the plans.

Leaders in the North have agreed that now is not the time to scale back on ambition and say Government should commit to the full, transformational vision for both HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR - a rapid, reliable and resilient rail network between the North's six biggest cities and other economic centres). They say both will define the North’s economic future for the rest of this century, boosting jobs and growth.

It follows on from a major report by the National Infrastructure Commission which concluded that improving rail links between cities in the North and Midlands should be the first priority of a new approach to end stop-start investments and help level up the UK as part of a wider economic strategy. Understood by many to mean prioritise NPR over HS2.

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Transport for the North (TfN) has agreed its final recommendations for the new NPR network but at request of the Department for Transport, TfN has agreed to delay submitting the business case until the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan has been published.

Dan Jarvis MP, mayor of the Sheffield City Region (SCR), said: "We are expecting the Government to publish its long-awaited Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands sometime between the Budget and the local elections in May. This is a critical strategy, which will shape Government investment in rail infrastructure in South Yorkshire for many years to come. I’m continuing to work with ministers to ensure that the content of the Integrated Rail Plan reflects the priorities we set out in our own Integrated Rail Plan published in 2019."

The SCR mayoral combined authority (MCA) put forward a number of high profile schemes and projects where it believes the Government should intervene.

Interventions include things like the HS2 "Northern Loop" out of Sheffield to Leeds, completing the electrification of the Midland Mainline and a national rail connection to Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

It also includes: "A new NPR station on the Midland Mainline at Rotherham which will significantly enhance regional and national rail connectivity for Rotherham and open up development opportunities. This should be integrated with the tram-train network to connect to the town centre."

SCR documents show that TfN is also proposing a new NPR station on the main line at Rotherham to support the economic regeneration of the town.

A new mainline station for Rotherham and a Barnsley Dearne Valley parkway station are set to be progressed through NPR and not HS2. A location for the Rotherham station has not yet been confirmed.

Although the business case hasn't been published, TfN has outlined its preferred route for NPR. For the city region this would include connecting Sheffield to HS2 and on to Leeds, significant upgrades and journey time improvements to the Hope Valley route between Manchester and Sheffield, and significant upgrades and electrification of the rail lines from Leeds and Sheffield to Hull.

Images: SCR

2 comments:

Anonymous,  March 8, 2021 at 11:46 AM  

At this rate it could be many more years before anything happens, also thought new station location was nailed on for somewhere in Parkgate?

Anonymous,  March 8, 2021 at 11:57 AM  

Politicians need to get into there thick heads, they're not speaking for the public WE DON'T WANT HS2 IT'S A MASSIVE WASTE OF MONEY AND AN ENVIRONMENTAL CATASTROPHY

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