FARRRS – Journey starts for transformational road scheme


Mayor Ros Jones on site at Rossington.

One of the biggest transformational projects in Doncaster’s history has officially started.

Representatives from the public and private sector partners who have helped the Finningley and Rossington Regeneration Route Scheme (FARRRS) get to this stage celebrated by breaking the ground on this route to jobs and growth.

This council led regeneration project is a true public-private partnership. It has backing from the private sector partners Harworth Estates, the Peel Group and Verdion, the Government through the Regional Growth Fund and is supported regionally by the Growing Places Fund and the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Doncaster Chamber has also supported the project.

The new link from Junction 3 of the M18 will be instrumental in supporting growth and the expansion of services at Robin Hood Airport run by the Peel Group and provide the necessary road infrastructure for Harworth Estates to build 1,200 homes on the former Rossington Colliery site and Verdion, formerly Helios Europe, to build an innovative rail freight interchange called iPort also in Rossington.

This private sector inward investment will deliver thousands of new jobs and homes and provide a huge boost to the local and regional economy.

As well as cutting journey times and easing congestion for those travelling to the south of Doncaster, FARRRS will help transform the village of Rossington.

Welcoming the news, Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones, said: “FARRRS is one of the most significant infrastructure projects in the UK and will deliver a raft of economic benefits for the borough and the Sheffield City Region.

“This transformational scheme will be a catalyst for unprecedented growth in and around the airport and in Rossington itself. It helps to lever in substantial levels of inward investment which in turns delivers thousands of new jobs and homes for local people to benefit from. Regeneration on this scale is rare and all our public and private sector partners deserve tremendous credit for making this long held ambition for a new link road a reality. This is a momentous day for the town.”

Peter Nears, Strategic Planning Director at Peel said, “The announcement of the commencement of the FARRRS scheme is great news for not only Robin Hood Airport and associated Business Park but also for Doncaster as a whole.  FARRRS unlocks the potential in the area for new development creating much needed new jobs and housing.  Peel is committed to playing our part in the success of the area and are pleased to be able to support Doncaster Council in the delivery of this important project.”

Steve Gill, Doncaster Sheffield Airport Managing Director added, “This road can’t come soon enough. From day one the council understood the strategic importance of this road to the region and how it can help the airport realise its potential and so we are delighted to see work commence. The delivery of this much needed infrastructure will truly place the airport at the heart of the region, helping to position Doncaster Sheffield Airport as the natural airport of choice for passengers and freight operators.”

Michael Hughes, Chief Executive Officer at Verdion, said: ““We are pleased to be key stakeholders in the FARRRS project. This is the start of major regeneration and investment in the Doncaster and Sheffield region which will create thousands of local jobs. iPort will provide vital intermodal freight transport infrastructure for the North East attracting important international companies to the area.”

Owen Michaelson, Chief Executive at Harworth Estates, said: “The FARRRS project is an excellent example of private developers and the public sector working effectively together to deliver a road which will unlock the employment and housing land required to drive forward Doncaster’s regeneration.”

James Newman, Chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This ground-breaking ceremony marks the start of an important new link road, which will create hundreds of new jobs and bring millions of pounds of investment to the Sheffield City Region.

“The Doncaster Sheffield Airport link road will greatly improve the City Region’s connections with its national and international markets, as well as opening up a substantial amount of new land to investors and developers.

“Since it was formed in 2010, the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has given this project and the airport its full support and the commencement of the road shows what can achieved when private and public sector partners work together.”

Andrew McKenna, President of Doncaster Chamber, said: “It is excellent news for all businesses in the Sheffield City Region that work on the FARRRS link road is now starting.  When the Chamber got behind the critical bid to leverage Regional Growth Fund monies to support this scheme we were blown away by the amount of private sector enthusiasm and endorsement for the scheme.  Unlocking this growth corridor and improving access to the airport will be a significant game changer for the region.  The importance of this scheme cannot be overstated and, additionally, hot on the heels of the Civic and Cultural Quarter and White Rose Way, the road will provide another physical manifestation of Doncaster’s on going regeneration.”

The nearly three mile stretch of road will include a dual carriageway from the M18 towards Rossington to support the Inland Port. The link will continue as a single carriageway to the A638 at Parrot’s Corner and a direct connection will be provided into Rossington.

Raised embankments will be used for most of the link road using reclaimed fill material from the former colliery spoil tips, while several structures will be built including crossings over the Brancliffe to Kirk Sandall (BKS) railway line and the East Coast Main Line.

Carillion has been appointed as the main contractor for the scheme which will become fully operational in early 2016.

Andy Brown, Operations Director for Carillion, said: “Carillion is delighted to have been awarded this contract and we look forward to working with Doncaster Council and other stakeholders to deliver this scheme. We are especially pleased to be providing, not only much needed infrastructure, but also a scheme that unlocks so much potential for development and growth in the area.”

Further information is available at: www.doncaster.gov.uk/FARRRS

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Doncaster ‘rail’ landslide!

Closure of train track due to landslide.

Rail track damaged by landslide

Network Rail teams work on the Doncaster to Thorne railway line adjacent to Hatfield Colliery where a landslide has caused damage to the train line leading to it’s closure.
Train passengers are expected to face disruption with the service for ‘sometime’ The line links Cleethorpes with Manchester Airport.

contact:       shaun@sf-pictures.com

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Marr Wind Farm

Marr Wind Farm, Doncaster

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Santa Moving With The Times!

High Speed Santa!

Father Christmas will leave his reindeers in Lapland and take to a Segway to pay a call on Sherwood Pines Forest Park!

Roving Santa will rev-up on his dream machine to help deliver more fresh Christmas trees to the beauty spot’s popular Forestry Commission sales point, near Clipstone, Notts.

Segways – invented in the USA and described as self-balancing two wheeled electric transportation machines – have been touted as the future of green commuting.

In spring they will make their debut in the 1,200 hectare (3,000 acre) forest park when Go-Ape offers them for hire to visitors for woodland safaris. Chris Bray, Forestry Commission Recreation Manager, said:

“The Go-Ape guys wanted to get in a bit of practice so kindly offered to help us move Christmas trees around the sales area, getting into the mood by dressing as Santa. Segways are a brilliant way of exploring the forest and this will be a terrific new attraction next year.”

Christmas tree sales run daily in Sherwood Pines until 23 December from 9am to 3.30pm.

Thousands of pines, fir and spruce are up for grabs, but an on-going national shortage of Christmas trees means revellers are being urged to buy early to get the best of the crop.

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The Selby Rail Crash………..a photographers view!

RAF Sea King helicopters land at the crash site

It is almost 10 years ago (28th February 2001) that the Selby rail crash occurred at Great Heck, North Yorkshire. 10 people were killed whilst 82 suffered serious injuries.


The crash occurred in the early morning of the 28th after a Land Rover Defender towing a trailer swerved off the M62 motorway, down an embankment on to the East Coast Main Line coming to rest on the south bound railway track. The driver, Gary Hart, walked free from the accident but whilst making a mobile phone call to the emergency services watched as the Land Rover was hit by a southbound GNER Intercity 225 train travelling at 120 mph.

The leading bogie of the train derailed and the train stayed upright but points to a nearby sidings deflected it onto the path of an oncoming Freightliner freight train. The two trains collided resulting in the near destruction of the freight train and causing severe damage to the 225 and its coaches which overturned and came to rest down an embankment to the side of the track.

The Day….

Emergency Services search the mangled wreckage

I received a call at around 7am on that morning from John Edwards, the Picture Editor of The Sun newspaper, despatching me to Great Heck, very little was known about the incident at that point other than it involved a train. Whilst loading the car I took a second call from the ‘picture desk’ telling me to abandon the scene but to travel a short way from Doncaster up the A1 to Thorpe Audlin where the paper had chartered an helicopter from aerial filming specialists Heliscott. It was probably at this point that I realised that this was a major story unfolding!

The weather that morning was very grey with a little sleet falling, the flight from Heliscott’s base took about 20 mins giving me enough time to prep my camera’s and make sure I was going to get a clear view through the small opening window of the helicopter. As we approached the site the pilot was immediately ordered to leave the area as an ‘air exclusion zone’ had been set up, 2 RAF Sea King helicopters had already flown close by! We were able to make one wide pass of the site giving me some time to get a selection of images.

Once back at base I was able to file my images back to The Sun’s picture desk before making my way to the scene.

Carnage at the crash site

I have to say the scene from the air was a little surreal, like a child’s Hornby train set scattered on a green mat, it wasn’t until I arrived at Great Heck that I was able to take in the full scale of the disaster. By this time the emergency services were in full swing, ambulance and police were carrying out their duties and fire and rescue personnel were searching the wreckage for casualties. I spent another hour or so recording these scenes with the ever increasing number of media colleagues before ‘hooking up’ with The Sun reporter Martyn Sharpe.

View looking south down the East Coast main line

By mid morning The Sun’s news desk had received  a ‘tip off’ about the possible identity of the Land Rover driver and Martyn and I were immediately sent from the scene to a small village in Lincolnshire to try and speak with family and friends of Hart and to hopefully get the all important ‘collect’ picture of him. By early evening we’d managed to succeed in our work with remaining copy and pictures filed to the relevant desks.

Our photography and reporting of the incident made the paper’s front page, along with a double page spread of the scene from the air. Many other national papers also ran the images.


This incident happened during the early day’s of digital photography. I had bought a Kodak DCS 520, a professional digital SLR developed with Canon and based on their flagship EOS 1n film camera, 12 month’s before which offered 2 million pixels at a cost of £5,300!

The small pixel count on the camera meant I still shot the majority of my commercial and PR work on film using the ‘520’ solely for ‘deadline’ work with the newspapers. Alongside the camera I used an Apple G3 laptop with Photoshop for picture editing, transmitting my images with a Nokia mobile phone. Were all used to mobile broadband these day’s and the ‘high speed’ connections that come with it, the Nokia offered data transmission at 9600kbs or 28.8kbs with a fancy ‘modem string’ typed into the software, images took an age to send! All of it ‘cutting edge’ for it’s time!

A gallery of images can be viewed from this link, please note all these can be licensed for editorial or commercial use by using the buy button on the site. Enquiries to,

email:            shaun@sf-pictures.com

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