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Network Rail unveils details of Tinsley chord for S. Yorkshire tram-train

The Sheffield to Rotherham tram-train project has entered its next phase, with Network Rail revealing its plans for the new section of track to connect the national rail and tram network.

The new Tinsley chord will link the railway and Supertram networks, passing under the Tinsley Viaduct. It will need 150 metres of new track with associated ground work, overhead line equipment to carry the power to the tram-trains and lineside equipment including a small new building to house electrical equipment.

Warrick Dent, area director for Network Rail, said: “This is an exciting stage of the project as we consult on plans which, if approved, will turn years of meticulous planning into Britain’s first operational tram-train service.”

He added: “Tram-trains are a common sight in Europe and we believe they could help to improve journey options for passengers around our towns and cities. Even though the tram-trains run elsewhere, we have had many complex issues to work through with our partners in the project to make sure that the vehicles can operate safely in Britain without causing unnecessary disruption to regular tram and rail passengers.

“We would encourage regular Stagecoach Supertram and Northern Rail passengers, local residents and landowners to view and comment upon the plans.”

Tinsley Chord map  v6

Tram-trains will provide a direct service between Sheffield city centre, Rotherham Central station and a new stop at Rotherham’s Parkgate retail park. They will use the existing Supertram route between Cathedral and Tinsley-Meadowhall South, and then move onto the rail network via the new chord to Parkgate.

New platforms will be built at Tinsley-Meadowhall South, and Rotherham Central Station’s platforms will be extended to facilitate the new service.

An application for a Transport Work Act Order (TWAO) will be submitted to the transport secretary in spring 2015. Dependent upon the TWAO process and decision, work to construct the chord is expected to start in spring 2016. Construction is expected to take approximately eight months.

The £60m tram-train pilot project was originally announced in May 2012 and was intended to begin operation from 2015, however it has since been beset by delays due to complications in adapting the heavy rail network for tram-train operation.

In December it was announced that as part of the Sheffield City Region Devolution Deal the government has committed to work with Network Rail to ensure the tram-train project is delivered in time for a January 2017 launch date.

Tram-train vehicles are currently being manufactured, and work to the tramway and depot to accommodate tram-trains is also underway. South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive is procuring seven new dual voltage vehicles (750V DC and 25kV AC) for the project from Vossloh España, using tram-trains that are part of the Citylink family. Each three-section Citylink vehicle is 37.2m long, 2.65m wide and they have low-floor doors. They will go into service in late 2016, initially just on the existing tram network.

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Pedr   06/02/2015 at 18:56

Please what is the radius of curvature? And at what speed will it be taken?

John Gilbert   06/03/2015 at 11:28

Fearfully sharp curves! Screeching around them will slow the service down unnecessarily, and it will do no good to the trams' running gear!!

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