Latest Rail News

24.06.13

Green light for tram-train

The UK’s first tram-train pilot has been signed off by transport minister Norman Baker.

The project will see seven vehicles, built by Vossloh, use the existing electrified heavy rail line from Rotherham Parkgate via Rotherham Central to Meadowhall South, where it will join up with Sheffield Supertram to the city centre.

Such technology has been used in the EU, and this project will trial the concept in the UK.

Speaking at the UK Light Rail Conference, Baker said; “As you know, tram-train is something I am very passionate about as it has game-changing potential in terms of driving down costs of operating over heavy-rail lines, and facilitating greater capacity and a wider choice of routes.

“The pilot is important to this country as it will bring out the issues that are unique to the railway systems used here and enable further proposal be made with full knowledge of the costs, needs and benefits for both the light rail and heavy rail vehicles, infrastructure and safety systems. This learning is being recorded by the project team and will be made available to future tram-train promoters on an emerging basis as the evidence is secured.

“When we have an operating tram-train service that has achieved all the required safety authorisations, we will have proved that the concept is a viable, safe and efficient mode of local transport. One that will connect communities with commercial, business and retail areas within our major conurbations by a cost effective means and making best use of existing heavy and light rail infrastructure.”

LRTA (Light Rail Transit Association) chairman Andrew Braddock said: “Whilst it is good to know that the Sheffield-Rotherham trial is finally confirmed with the new vehicle order now signed-off by the Minister, it is a little frustrating to find that common practice in other EU Member States cannot simply be automatically followed in Britain.”

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