£48m funding boost to get Penistone rail line on the right track
Kirklees Council have been successful with their bid to the government’s Levelling Up Fund for £48m to support significant improvements to the infrastructure of the Penistone rail line. The fund is designed to support local authorities to invest in local infrastructure that has a visible impact on people and their communities.
The Penistone rail line runs between Huddersfield, Penistone and Sheffield, via Barnsley, providing an important link between communities and is a sustainable alternative to road travel.
However, the line currently experiences capacity issues and has a number of infrastructure constraints that allow only one train to travel per hour along the northern section between Huddersfield and Barnsley. This, added to speed limits of 50mph or lower at some sections, all contribute to long journey times, averaging 1 hour 15 minutes, end to end.
These slow journeys hinder connectivity between communities and are unattractive to commuters who turn to other forms of transport like private car travel. For lower income families without access to a car, it creates additional barriers to access employment, leisure and cultural attractions.
The funding announced today will enable a package of infrastructure and access measures that will make the Penistone rail line a significant link between Huddersfield, Barnsley and Sheffield.
Councillor Cathy Scott, Leader of Kirklees Council and Cabinet Member for Transport, says:
“Here in Kirklees, our connectedness is one of our greatest strengths. We not only have great towns and beautiful countryside, we’re also slap bang in the middle of some of the north’s most influential cities – and our rail links help connect us with those cities, with the rest of the north, beyond that, the whole of the UK. The benefits of improving these connections, both to individual residents and to our local economy as a whole, are huge.
“It’s also important to remember that this project is part of a much bigger picture in terms of developing Kirklees’ transport system, which will also help make public transport a more viable option across the district, tying in with our green agenda. For example, as Huddersfield is a stop on the Transpennine Route – which is currently being upgraded – there is also the opportunity to connect more people to this and other planned infrastructure projects.
“It’s very exciting to see so much transformation across Kirklees and beyond.”
Councillor Graham Turner, Cabinet Member for Finance and Regeneration, says:
“I am delighted that the Levelling Up Fund bid for this project has been successful and will allow us to deliver significant improvements to the Penistone line and provide numerous benefits to businesses and communities along the route.
“Our transport links not only give us the opportunity to broaden the labour market for businesses in our area but provides easier and faster access to employment opportunities and leisure activities or events in the wider region.
“We submitted four Kirklees bids for Levelling Up funds, and all have now been successful. That is testament to the hard work our officers have put into designing and producing high quality bids. I want to thank Tracy Brabin, all the MPs, businesses and local people who supported us to put some brilliant plans together.
“We will keep working to bring investment to all parts of Kirklees and this great selection of ambitious plans will help us deliver the economic growth we all need.”
Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals