The news has been welcomed by the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership who have been long-standing supporters and promoters of the improvement.
The decision, taken by the Transport Secretary of State, was to approve the granting of the Transport and Works Act order which is necessary, and a key step in the process to secure the much needed improvements to the Hope Valley line.
The Hope Valley route between Bamford and Dore is affected by slow freight trains, and the planned improvements will allow passenger trains to overtake. Currently two fast passenger trains an hour and one stopping train every two hours use the line: the scheme would allow that to rise to three fast trains per hour and one stopping train each hour.
Under the Northern Hub plans a 1000-metre loop would be built at Bamford alongside the existing railway line, and the Hathersage West foot crossing replaced with a footbridge. At Dore the Dore South Curve will be extended and the capacity of Dore and Totley Station improved including a second track through the station.
Martin McKervey, lead member for transport on the SCR Local Enterprise Partnership Board, and a member of the Transport for the North Partnership Board, said: “Improved rail connections to Manchester are a key SCR priority and something we have been pressing very hard for with ministers, and something the private and public sectors have been working together to achieve for some time.”
Mr McKervey, a partner at international law firm CMS, added: “It’s good to see that the Secretary of State has been listening to us, and our collaborative efforts have paid off with this important decision.
“However, having had this breakthrough we will now be working with Network Rail to make sure the scheme happens.”
A long-awaited scheme that will reduce delays and improve reliability for trains on the congested Sheffield to Manchester route is one step closer after having been given the green light by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport.