With Sheffield’s other Labour MPs, I’ve written to the Government about the proposals to scrap the direct train link between Sheffield and Manchester Airport. Sheffield needs the international connectivity that this rail line provides. Scrapping it would be a costly mistake and push more traffic onto already congested roads.
The Government must ensure that this important line is maintained. You can read our full letter to Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps below:
We are writing you about the consultation launched by the Department for Transport on 14th January 2021 on Manchester’s rail network. We support the objectives of the review and would go further in seeking much improved services between our two cities. However, we are deeply concerned that two of the three options under consideration would scrap the direct link between Sheffield and Manchester Airport station.
Any review of Manchester services should not be undertaken in isolation but must consider the impact on the wider northern region. Sheffield needs international connectivity to attract inward investment and enable business to improve productivity. The long-established direct rail link is a vital part of that and strongly supported by local business. Removing it would undermine the Government’s “levelling up” agenda for cities in the north.
Our world-class universities in Sheffield also rely on this link to recruit international students who are worth more than £200 million a year to our local economy. A key selling point in attracting students is that there is a direct rail connection from campus to airport, and the service is also used by staff and UK students in undertaking work or study abroad.
Furthermore, road connectivity between Sheffield and Manchester Airport is very poor. There is no direct motorway or dual carriageway linking the cities, and journey times and highly variable and weather dependent. The loss of a direct rail connection will drive more road traffic onto already congested trans-Pennine routes.
We would be grateful if you could outline what consideration you have given to these points and urge you to support us in seeking to retain this important direct service.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Paul Blomfield MP
Clive Betts MP
Olivia Blake MP
Gill Furniss MP
Louise Haigh MP