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Largan column: 'We're seeing biggest investment in High Peak's public transport in my lifetime'

In his latest column, High Peak MP Robert Largan discusses the recent news on the Hope Valley train line upgrade and an overhaul of bus services in England.

Last week was a big moment for the High Peak. We got the exciting news that the Government has approved a £137 million upgrade to the Hope Valley line from Manchester to Sheffield, serving New Mills Central, Chinley, Edale, Hope and Bamford.

This huge investment in local rail capacity will transform journeys between Manchester and Sheffield. It will remove bottlenecks on the railway line and create places for fast passenger services to overtake slower moving freight trains. This means more frequent trains, increasing the reliability of services on the line.

To deliver this upgrade, work will be done on parts of the railway line around Bamford, Jaggers Lane Bridge in Hathersage, and Dore & Totley station.

I have been campaigning hard for this upgrade for over two years. I have repeatedly raised it in Parliament and led a cross-party campaign with MPs from across the region. My longstanding petition backing the upgrade has been signed by a huge number of local people.

Work on the upgrade is due to start next year and be completed by the end of 2023. I will keep the pressure on and work with Ministers and Network Rail to help keep the scheme on track over the coming months.

But it isn’t just faster and more reliable trains that are coming to High Peak. Thanks to an ambitious new bus strategy, with £3 billion of funding from central government, we are getting a complete overhaul of England’s bus services. Bus services are too often patchy, and we must improve them.

Under the new plans, councils and operators will work more closely together, making buses more frequent, cheaper, greener and easier to use. This includes contactless payments on all buses, daily price caps, and better information.

As we build back from the pandemic, better buses will be a crucial part of levelling-up the country. It is really important that buses become the transport of choice, reducing the number of car journeys and improving quality of life for millions. Not only will this unlock job opportunities, help children get to school, and sustain town centres, it will also help bring about a greener and cleaner future.

We are seeing the biggest investment in High Peak's public transport in my lifetime. By upgrading our rail services and improving our bus networks, levelling up is being put into action, improving life chances and expanding opportunity across the High Peak. If we can deliver the Mottram Bypass as well, this will mark the biggest improvement in our local transport infrastructure in a generation.

Main image:

MP Robert Largan at Dinting train station. 

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