A NEW railway station for Barnsley from which passengers can reach London in just 95 minutes is part of an ambitious plan to improve the rail network across the region.

The bold plans will also see updated station platforms at the current interchange station ready for improved intercity links, as well as a raft of highway improvements to drive down congestion and drive up economic growth.

The Integrated Rail Plan, unveiled by Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis yesterday sets out a vision for how the region will be better connected by high speed as well as conventional rail networks.

A key element of the plan is a proposed new Barnsley Dearne Valley railway station, expected to be in Goldthorpe which will form part of the Northern Powerhouse Rail network which will connect Liverpool, Manchester and its airport, to Leeds, as well as linking to the proposed HS2 rail project.

The new Barnsley Dearne Valley station will offer connections to Sheffield in 12 minutes, Leeds in 15 minutes, York in 20 minutes, Birmingham Curzon Street in 56 minutes, and London Euston in 95 minutes.

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“A new station in the Dearne Valley, on the Northern Powerhouse Rail network, will offer potentially transformational regeneration opportunities for that area,” the mayor and MP for Barnsley Central told the Chronicle.

“The proposed Dearne Valley station would be supported by improved road connections between the M1 and A1 along the A635, with potential in the future to make the A635 a dual carriageway. That’s the work that is already taking place to see how we can look around Hickleton and Marr, there’s long standing issues and congestion on the Barnsley to Doncaster road which is a nightmare for people living there and people commuting.”

Improvements are also planned to the current Barnsley Interchange platforms to accommodate new intercity services.

Dan said: “We have an ambition to ensure there’s a service from Barnsley to London, but in order to make that happen work will have to take place.

“We’ve already applied for £200m of funding but the process requires us as a region to have a plan in place. The important bit of the plan is that it has the support of all local authorities as well as Transport for the North and the Northern Powerhouse Partnership so it has everybody’s support.

“That gives me the leverage I need to go to government and negotiate what is required. There will be work to do and nothing happens overnight but now we all know what we want to achieve.

“From my point of view I want to move this forward as quickly as possible. Our railways aren’t fit for the 21st century and we need to urgently improve the services, the affordability of tickets, the frequency of trains services, and passenger experience.

“It isn’t good enough and I urgently want to improve it.

“This is a good plan for Barnsley, not only will it deliver a new parkway station in the Dearne which will be transformative for that part of the borough, but it will bring investment into the town centre and the railway station as well as improvement in our road network.

“It is significant that the plan has been supported and that everyone gets something out of it.

“The important thing is that we get on and secure investment.”

The new station could be a cheaper alternative to the previously outlined plans for a ‘parkway station’ on the HS2 high speed line earmarked for a site near Brierley.

However, Barnsley Council leader Sir Steve Houghton still believes the area would be best served by having both.

“We fully welcome the station proposal,” he said.

“But we will still push for a parkway station on the main HS2 route as well.

“We also must see station improvements at Barnsley which will allow longer intercity trains direct to London, which will be possible once the new town centre bridge is in place. We would also like to see the Dearne Towns Link Road (A635) dual carriageway, right from the M1 at Birdwell, all the way through to the A1 at Marr.”