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15.12.14

Sheffield tram-train new launch date set – January 2017

The perpetually delayed Sheffield to Rotherham tram-train project finally has a revised launch date: January 2017.

As part of last week’s announcement of the Sheffield City Region Devolution Deal the government has committed to work with Network Rail to ensure the tram-train project is delivered.

The plan for flexible vehicles to run on both rail and tram networks, using the freight route from Rotherham and then joining the Sheffield Supertram network at Meadowhall South, was scheduled to launch in spring of 2016, after being delayed from 2015. But in November it was announced that the £60m project, to be operated by Stagecoach, would no longer meet even that new deadline, due to problems with the design work to adapt the heavy rail network to allow tram-train style service.

At the time no revised deadline was announced but Network Rail and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive have confirmed today that the tram-train will take to the rails in 2017.

Network Rail route managing director, Phil Verster, said: “Tram-train will bring lasting benefits to passengers in the Sheffield and Rotherham areas, and detailed design of the infrastructure to support this exciting project is well underway. We assessed our delivery programme and the work needed to adapt the network is expected to be complete to allow Tram Train passenger services to start in January 2017.

“We must make sure we are maximising efficiencies by aligning the project with our other investment programmes. The revised project timescale is also allowing us to improve the alignment of the route at Meadowhall, better utilising the existing tramway stop and creating an improved experience for the passenger.”

Tram-train vehicles are currently being manufactured, and work to the tramway and depot to accommodate tram-trains is also underway. SYPTE is procuring seven new dual voltage vehicles (750V DC and 25kV AC) for the pilot 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.

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive interim director general, Ben Still, said: “The tram-train project will provide important enhanced local connectivity and demonstrate the potential, both locally and nationally, of this new technology to deliver value for money services.

“The first of seven tram-trains will arrive in September 2015 for testing and people will be able to travel on them on the Supertram network before October 2016, enhancing capacity.”

If the pilot is successful, it opens the way for tram-trains to be introduced in other parts of the country.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

W J Willis   04/01/2015 at 18:40

If this is a success it should be copied around the country. One place should be Tyne &Wear metro to Street running using these tram trains yne & wear metro

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