Plans to build a link from the East Coast main railway line to Doncaster Sheffield Airport have taken their first steps towards becoming a reality
A feasibility study has been commissioned by Doncaster Council, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and Doncaster Sheffield Airport to see how the scheme could work - the first move in exploring the potential of connecting the airport to the major rail route and providing a station.
The study will be awarded through a competitive bidding process and the document is hoped to be completed by the end of the year.
Experts believe an airport station off the East Coast Mainline could be a major economic boost for Yorkshire and the Sheffield City Region, having a transformational effect beyond the airport site as a catalyst for encouraging investment, providing new jobs and support the growing innovation district at the airport’s 1,600 acre site, known as Aero Centre Yorkshire.
Officials at the three organisations also believe a station could also serve local communities and businesses in the vicinity such as the rapidly expanding Yorkshire Wildlife Park and other forthcoming new leisure attractions such as the European Tour backed golf course at Rossington.
Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones, said: “Doncaster Sheffield Airport is a huge asset for Doncaster, the Sheffield City Region, Yorkshire and the North and we are committed to making it a big success.
“The opening of Great Yorkshire Way created exceptional links between the airport and the motorway network and has helped them achieve incredible growth. This shows if you have a forward thinking vision to deliver important infrastructure projects they can have a real economic impact.
“We are ambitious for the future and our concept to provide an East Coast Mainline station at Doncaster Sheffield Airport could certainly release its immense untapped potential and bring significant benefits to Doncaster and the wider region.”
Steve Gill, chief executive of Doncaster Sheffield Airport said: “Doncaster Sheffield Airport is one of few regional airport sites in the UK which offers unconstrained physical and airspace capacity with the existing runway able to accommodate a throughput of 25 million passengers per annum, providing an international gateway serving the east side of the country.
"An airport station could mean North London is less than 80 minutes train travel away, similar travelling time to Heathrow or Gatwick on already congested routes. The proposal could also support boosting international trade, deliver improved regional connectivity and contribute towards government strategy to rebalance the economy.”
“The proposal for the airport station shows how a quicker, more affordable and sustainable solution in the North can deliver much needed future UK aviation capacity for passengers and cargo, complementing planned investment in South East airports.”
Sir Nigel Knowles, chair of Sheffield City Region LEP, said: “The success of Aero Centre Yorkshire is a key part of our strategic plan to build a truly competitive centre of business excellence in Sheffield City Region.
"The airport’s new link road illustrates our simple and straightforward approach to doing business. In Sheffield City Region we just get things done and we look forward to working in partnership to deliver a new rail connection and station providing a connection from the airport to the East Coast Mainline. Through pulling together to achieve transformational change we are building a thriving, super-connected and successful economy.”
The news of the study comes just days after Don Valley MP called on the Government to support investment to back businesses and jobs in Don Valley.
She said: "The MP told the Commons “while London receives £1,870 per head on infrastructure spending, Yorkshire and the Humber receives £250 per head. For a 10th of the cost of Crossrail 1—about £150 million—a new east coast mainline spur and railway station at Doncaster Sheffield airport could be built.”
Experts report that a new station on the East Coast mainline would add a further six million people within an hour’s travel time of the airport.