The valleys I refer to are the Sheaf and Hope, one urban, one rural but both beautiful valleys much loved by those who live and visit there. I should also mention Edale - the valley, not the Booth with a station attached.
I went to the exhibition about the proposals for the Hope Valley Line which got me thinking. The two schemes are:
Double-track the junction through Dore Station. This means an extra platform. It's outrageous that the line between the UK's 3rd & 4th biggest cities still has single track sections.
Put a passing loop in at Bamford.
This makes it possible to have three fast trains and one slow one an hour through the Hope Valley. The Network Rail guy reckoned the benefits for this arrangement were greater than those if you had four express trains an hour and fewer local trains. This I think is good news for people living in or visiting the Peak District who want to cycle, either by taking their bikes to and from the Peak District or by hiring bikes at either end.
For commuters between Sheffield and Manchester, their best option is to rent a bike at either end of their journey if they need one. There is already bike hire at Sheffield, Man Picc and Meadowhall.
All in all the scheme will cost the sort of money that would be regarded as small change by Crossrail but will make a big difference to travel across the Peak District.
So this is all well and good but I really feel there is a missed opportunity to promote sustainable travel at Dore.
The P&R has been a big success and I'm sure it has increased the number of passengers using the station. We have 130 parking spaces and 20 cycle parking spaces - that presupposes a 6.5% modal share for cycling, somewhat higher than the 1.79% we currently have in Sheffield.
The car park is heavily over-subscribed and people are parking on verges and the pavement, so really the situation for local residents is the same as before the P&R was put in.
Surely there is a case to introduce parking charges at this site?
I wrote about this line year or two back:-
So what's happened since? (Post updated 16th Aug 2016)
- There still isn't any promotion of walking and cycling from the station.
- The bridleways through Ecclesall Woods have deteriorated a bit.
Abbeydale Rd is still not bike-friendly, although closer to town there are some new advisory bike lanes, not all of which have met with universal approval, but there are some very nice bridleway routes through Ecclesall Woods starting nearby that I use for my personal commute - got my eye on them for future NCN extensions - Sheaf Valley Route gets as far as Archer Rd, a mile or so away.
Routes close to these should be included in Sheffield's Strategic Cycle Network.
Bus stops are adjacent to the station entrance, but fares are high and there is no linking service from Dore itself. The 70 bus could be extended to the P&R although somewhere would have to be found for it to turn round.
Doubling the line and therefore platforms will allow for greater throughput of trains and there is a recognition that if people are going to use HS2 they is going to have to be some sort of rapid transit to get them to Meadowhell - at the moment stopping TPEX expresses would be the best way to do this (some stop already) although local residents are pressing for a tram link as well and will probably get it in the 20 years it will take to get HS2 to Sheffield.
There is now a "Friends of Dore Station" like Dronfield which has been very successful. You can find them on Facebook.
18 Bikes has become the Summer House restaurant and the Indian restaurant in the old station building has re-opened - its great to see the building in use but why not serve Indian-style railway food to the commuters during the day? A good cup of chai and a poori can really set you up for the day. (I use the term Indian loosely as I don't actually know what variant of Asian food they serve) I also don't know whether the Summer House serves takeaway breakfasts - takeaway coffee and a croissant would be good for the train ride to Manchester.