Rail plans to improve links

A First TransPennine Express service.
A First TransPennine Express service.

Rail services in Doncaster could get a major upgrade - and the scheme is being backed by the area’s MPs and business community.

A Government task force has been set up to consider the case for the electrification of routes from Sheffield to Doncaster, Sheffield to Manchester and Sheffield to Leeds.

Politicians and business leaders have welcomed possible investment in rail hardware and say it could reinvigorate the economy.

The improvements are being looked at as part of a nationwide bid to combat congestion on roads and the Government says it would increase the frequency and speed of train journeys to and from each destination. Experts from Network Rail and the Department for Transport are now working on a report on routes across the North to be finished within one year.

Deputy chief executive of Doncaster Chamber, Dan Fell, said: “Any upgrade is welcome. It helps to improve the economy and services. The reliability of the rail service is important and, while it might sound like a slightly flippant comment, most businesses aren’t bothered about transport itself, but what they do care about is getting goods from A to B reliably and cheaply. If you look at Doncaster our economy is reliant on our connectivity and transport links.”

The electrification of the rail service in Doncaster is seen by many as a positive step forward for the town and surrounding areas including many of the area’s businesses. The area’s local politicians are keen to lend their support to the scheme.

Doncaster Central MP Rosie Winterton, whose constituency includes Doncaster station, said: “I welcome the proposals. Electrification has many environmental benefits – electric trains are cleaner and can be more efficient than diesel trains. It could also lead to faster local services, which would benefit commuters across Doncaster and South Yorkshire.”

Don Valley MP Caroline Flint said: “Having delayed infrastructure investment across the board for most of the past three years, the Government has set up a taskforce to talk about speeding up rail electrification. And while they are talking, Patrick McLoughlin is not addressing the cost of living crisis facing families in Yorkshire who are £1,700 a year worse off while some rail fares are rising by five percent.

“Electrification is commonsense, allowing trains to run more cheaply, with less wear and tear. The truth is that big decisions on investment won’t be taken by Patrick McLoughlin, but in parliament.”