Mayor's anger as Hope Valley rail upgrade between Sheffield and Manchester is delayed
South Yorkshire metro mayor Dan Jarvis has reacted with anger over news a rail project between Sheffield and Manchester has been delayed.
Works upgrading the Hope Valley line between the cities is not expected to be completed until 2023 – the upgrades should already be finished, Mayor Jarvis has said.
In a letter to rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris, Mayor Jarvis expressed ‘deep frustration and disappointment’ at the delay, which would see essential upgrades to the line not complete for another four years
The works in the Peak District include a loop around the main line connecting Sheffield to Manchester which would allow passenger trains to pass slow-moving freight wagons and in turn increase journey times.
The mayor has also said he is to raise the issue directly with ministers in Parliament.
Mayor Jarvis said: “I’m not prepared to sit back and watch the passengers I represent treated like second class citizens by Network Rail.
“The Hope Valley line between Sheffield and Manchester connects 4.2 million people, and the current service frequency and journey times are not fit for purpose. These works should have already finished, and yet still they haven’t started. This is simply not good enough.
“In the 21st century it should not take between 50 and 55 minutes to travel the 40 miles between Sheffield and Manchester. The planned upgrade works are vital for businesses, for communities, and for future economic growth in the North.”
In the letter to Mr Heaton-Harris, Mayor Jarvis writes: “These upgrades are one of the only remaining undelivered elements of the Northern Hub and an essential pre-requisite for the Northern Powerhouse Rail works. They now need to happen as a matter of urgency.
“With delay being compounded with further delay it is hard to have confidence that this new completion date will be achieved. On that basis I would like to meet with you as soon as possible to discuss how the Department is going to bring real urgency and pace to the project.”