Passenger trains or a tram to Stocksbridge should be a 'priority' if steelworks close, transport group says

Stocksbridge needs passenger trains or a tram train connected to Sheffield if its steelworks closes, a rail group says.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 11:48 am
Liberty Speciality Steels, Stocksbridge. Picture: Chris Etchells

The call by Railfuture was made as the potential closure of Liberty Steel puts hundreds of jobs at risk.

Campaigners say residents will struggle to find and get to work elsewhere without an improvement in public transport connections.

They say the town needs either a conventional rail service serving a reopened Sheffield Victoria station or a tram train starting in the centre of Stocksbridge and joining the Supertram network in central Sheffield.

Railfuture’s vice chairman for South Yorkshire, Mike Rose, said in the future, the line from Stocksbridge to Penistone could be re-opened, not only connecting Stocksbridge to Penistone, but giving a faster direct service between Sheffield, Penistone and Huddersfield.

He added: “If the government is serious about its levelling up agenda, this should be one of its priorities.

“Public transport between Sheffield and Stocksbridge is poor, and communities along the way such as Oughtibridge and Deepcar would also benefit from a passenger service along the line.

“Sheffield City Region put in a bid under the “Restoring Your Railway” fund to the Department for Transport, which regrettably was unsuccessful.

"If the works were to close this has to change”.

A Sheffield City Region spokesperson said: “Transformational investment is needed to upgrade our infrastructure and improve connectivity across South Yorkshire. Improved public transport is essential to our renewal and growth in the coming months and years, and investment in our local and regional services will be a key signal of Government’s intent on levelling up the North.

"We submitted a bid to the Restoring Your Railways fund regarding the Stocksbridge (Don Valley) Line last year. While it was initially unsuccessful, we did resubmit following feedback from the Department for Transport and we are hopeful of a successful outcome when the decision is made later this year. The uncertainty over the future of the Stocksbridge steel works only reinforces the case for this critical investment.