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Fury over high-speed rail link plans

By Katia Harston, Chief Reporter Friday 1st February 2013
High speed line: A map showing the proposed route through Barnsley

Proposals for a high speed rail link passing through Barnsley show it would cut through villages like Ardsley and Hoyland Common - much to the dismay of residents and businesses.


The government revealed plans this week for the second phase of its high speed rail link project from London to Birmingham, extending it to Manchester and Leeds.


It is the Leeds route which passes through Barnsley, and the nearest station to access the service would be at Meadowhall.


Many residents are facing up to the reality that the high speed railway route will run alongside - or through - homes, businesses, parks and woodland in Hoyland Common, Upper Hoyland, Swaithe, Ardsley, Lundwood, West Green, Cudworth and Shafton.


Bryan Mason, who has lived at his Hoyland Common home off Sheffield Road for 20 years, was devastated to discover part of the line that is above ground will run through where his house stands.


Bryan, 54, opened a farm shop next to his home just before Christmas, where he also rears poultry and lambs.

"It's coming straight through everything we have done here.


"I'm absolutely devastated. Everything will be gone; the family house and the business we've tried to get going. The railway line is right through it all."


The route passes through Bryan's land and enters a tunnel, with two railway lines, on the outskirts of Hoyland Common before going underground and coming back up as it reaches Wombwell Wood.


Robin Morgan, of Roehampton Rise, Ardsley, was 'amazed' to find the line will also run directly beneath his home.

It will come northwards, skirting Wombwell Wood, pass close to Swaithe and then crosses Wombwell Lane, near the Jewson warehouse.


Joy Bretton, of Wombwell Wood Society, is concerned  but said more information is needed. The group will be meeting with members of the Forestry Commission and South Yorkshire Forests to discuss what impact it might have.


After passing by the wood, it will enter another tunnel in the area of the old brickworks, roughly behind two houses on St Paul's Parade, Ardsley, then go under Winchester Way, Roehampton Rise, under the parish church and Ardsley Oaks WMC.


It will emerge on the Cudworth side of Ardsley hill, a few yards before the old disused railway track and heads out towards Cudworth bridge on the east side of Lundwood.


Robin, 73, isn't convinced it is the best route to take.


"I would have thought a ready-made alignment for the route would have been the old Midland Railway line which passed through Darfield, and would not involve as much upheaval on a new line construction," he said.


"There may be very good reasons why it has not been used but I imagine very little has been built over the line since it was abandoned in the 1960s/70s and it's easier to lay a line where there is nothing rather than knocking down houses and factories.


"If this line is ever built, and it will be 2032 at the earliest, trains will be running through the tunnels at 360kph and God only knows what noise and vibration they will create.


"I do find this proposal disturbing, not least for the long-term effect it might have on our properties and their values. I cannot see how it can bring any real economic benefit to Barnsley."