NEW Government plans will give the Huddersfield- Penistone-Sheffield railway line a shot in the arm, say campaigners.
The welcomed the plans as transport minister Tony McNulty took a train on the route.
He travelled as a passenger from Huddersfield to Penistone.
His visit came as the Government revealed plans to boost rural railways.
Greater community involvement will be encouraged and new cost-cutting rules will mean the lines do not have to have the same maintenance standards as high-speed routes.
Campaigners today welcomed the inclusion of the Huddersfield- Sheffield line in a pilot project.
Richard Fieldhouse, chairman of the Huddersfield, Penistone and Sheffield Rail Users' Association, said: "This is a useful leg-up for an important commuter and feeder line."
About 500,000 passengers a year use the line between Huddersfield and Barnsley and many thousands more travel to Meadowhall and Sheffield.
Mr Fieldhouse added: "We realise our line is not currently a priority for improvement, but this may now be possible with its inclusion in the Department for Transport's initial pilot scheme."
Mr McNulty was in Huddersfield yesterday as a guest of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, which is based in St George's Square.
Paul Salveson, of Golcar, the association's general manager, said: "We believe this strategy will pave the way towards a strong, sustainable future for local railways, enabling them to play and even more important part in the lives of their communities."
Passenger numbers on the Huddersfield-Sheffield line rose 14% last year, partly due to the efforts of the community-run Penistone Line Partnership.
It runs music trains, community bus links and manages a community car club.
Dr Salveson added: "We're ready to play our part in making things happen straight away."