The Government has given Network Rail £137m to design and deliver the long-delayed upgrade to the Hope Valley line between Sheffield and Manchester.
The scheme will increase capacity on the line between Sheffield and Manchester, allowing more trains on the line and passenger trains to overtake slow-moving freight trains.
Announcing the funding on Thursday, transport minister Andrew Stephenson told MPs: ‘This scheme will transform journeys between the northern powerhouse cities of Manchester and Sheffield by removing bottlenecks on the Hope Valley line.’
Network Rail consulted on the upgrade in 2015 but was paused in 2016 by the Hendy Review as the rail infrastructure operator faced a major funding shortfall.
In 2018, the then transport secretary, Chris Grayling, gave formal planning permission for the scheme but the following year Network Rail announced that it had been put back again.
In Control Period 6 (2019-24), major enhancements are announced on a case-by-case basis.
Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis, who has previously criticised ministers’ failure to progress the project called the announcement ‘overdue but welcome’ progress
He said: ‘This is a significant boost for our region. I’m pleased that our persistence has paid off, and that ministers have finally listened to our calls to deliver long-awaited investment in this critical line between Sheffield and Manchester.
‘For too long people in South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Greater Manchester have been forced to endure endless delays, cancelled and unreliable services. The upgrade to this line – which connects 4.2 million people between Sheffield and Greater Manchester – will reduce these delays, improve reliability of trains and add a third direct train per hour.‘