A NEW bridge to the north of Sheffield station has been revealed as the Government’s preferred option to solve the dispute over pedestrian access across the railway.
Transport Secretary Justine Greening has written to MPs, Sheffield Council, transport bosses and members of the Residents Against Station Closure group with her views about different solutions if ticket barriers are installed on the station footbridge to reduce fare evasion.
The Sheffield parties have been given until Saturday to accept Ms Greening’s offer of £3 million funding for the new bridge.
Other ideas considered include opening the station goods bridge, and alternatives to ticket barriers on the existing bridge such as more ticket inspectors on trains and more random spot checks on passengers.
In her letter, Ms Greening said: “Having again considered the proposed non-structural options and the alternative upgrading of the station’s goods bridge, I have concluded that realistically, neither provide a cost-effective, practical alternative. I very much hope we can progress my proposal of a new bridge.
“Should you accept my offer, the department will commission Network Rail to develop the scheme for a new bridge to the north of the station. At the same time, East Midlands Trains will proceed with the planning and design of the ticket gates.”
But she added that barriers will not operate until there is an alternative pedestrian route.
Ms Greening said that upgrading the goods bridge for use as a pedestrian route across the station was ‘neither practical nor cost effective’ because it would mean alterations to listed buildings and loss of retail space.
Such a plan could also become caught up in proposals to electrify the railway through Sheffield and delayed while that project awaits approval, she added.
She added that additional ticket checks would be ‘labour intensive’ and would be difficult on peak time services.