IT was a railway line whose time appeared to have been and gone.
But now the Penistone Line between Huddersfield and Sheffield, appears to have the brightest of futures.
According to the Huddersfield Penistone Sheffield Rail Users Association, passenger numbers are growing and Network Rail is set to pump in tens of millions of pounds on developing both Huddersfield and Sheffield stations over the next few years.
The Association says passenger numbers continue to grow with more than 1.3 million passenger journeys recorded, an increase of 1.1% on the previous year.
And the figures for this year are even brighter with numbers rising by 4.9% in the first two months.
Best news of all though is the £32m to £36m which Network Rail intend to spend in the years leading up to 2019.
A new platform nine is envisaged for Huddersfield while platform two (for Penistone Line trains) is due to be extended to permit longer trains to operate.
The east end of the station is to be remodelled too giving longer platforms to five, six and eight.
Better access for trains to the stabling sidings will complete the £15m project.
Sheffield will have £19m spent on developing its facilities.
It is understood, however, that there are no plans to electrify the Penistone Line.
The only slight change may be to raise track speeds from 50mph to 60mph.
The Penistone Line, arguably one of the most charming lines in Yorkshire if not the country, was due to be axed 50 years ago following the Beeching Report.
But Barbara Castle, the incoming Minister for Transport in the 1964 Labour Government refused to kill it off and it has led a precarious existence ever since.
In recent years the line has been boosted by the formation in 1993 of the Penistone Line Partnership.
It started with short, guided walks attracting ramblers.
Then it was decided to promote music on the trains. This proved popular, with Jazz Trains and a Blues Train.
Numbers began to grow and in 1998 a national newspaper described the line as: “Britain’s Number 1 Fun Railway.”
And with the growth of ‘rail ale trails’ the line’s popularity has increased again.