South Yorkshire railway line which last carried passengers nearly 100 years ago could be reopened

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A Yorkshire railway line last used by passengers nearly a century ago could be reopened if one MP’s campaign is successful.

Alexander Stafford, Tory MP for Rother Valley, wrote to Transport Minister Chris Heaton-Harris yesterday, asking for details and cash to reopen the South Yorkshire Joint Railway to passengers.

The line last conveyed passengers in 1929, and although it has been in constant use for freight since then - transporting mostly coal - Mr Stafford saw the decline in the use of the fuel in the UK as an opportunity.

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He said: “The South Yorkshire Joint Railway is the perfect opportunity for the Government to invest in reopening passenger services on a line that offers huge potential for improving connectivity, reducing carbon emissions and providing greater access to opportunities for residents.

Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford. Photo: JPI MediaRother Valley MP Alexander Stafford. Photo: JPI Media
Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford. Photo: JPI Media

“The line is already in place, with almost constant previous use by freight traffic. But, with the demand for freight use on the line having fallen significantly, now is an ideal time to give residents in Maltby, Laughton Common, Dinnington, and North and South Anston greatly improved local transport links.

“These communities have suffered from a lack of decent transport links for too long, and the chance to access funding here stands to potentially level up the opportunities these communities can realise”.

It comes after the Government announced last year it would launch a £500m fund to go towards reopening lines shut by the Beeching’s cuts in the 1960s.

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The line, which remains intact, and recently maintained, runs from Worksop through to Doncaster, via North and South Anston, Laughton Common/Dinnington and Maltby. It first opened in 1909 to freight, and to passengers a year later,

Mr Stafford, a staunch opponent of HS2, also said the challenges for reopening passenger services in South Yorkshire are not as tough as building the high speed link.

He will be working with a voluntary transport task force within Rother Valley to identify local transport priorities.

The Skipton to Colne line is another mooted to be reopened under Government plans.

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It has been closed since the 1970s and has recently seen a local campaign to re-open it. And an initial study, which was completed in December 2018, found that it was technically feasible to re-open the line and the Department for Transport said it was working to assess the freight demand and the commercial viability of the scheme”.

But TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes previously described the announcement of a new rail fund as a “total sham”.

He said the scheme “from the party which has given us two decades of privatised chaos on our railways is beyond parody”.