Delayed Sheffield tram-train completion date finally set

A completion date has finally been set for the long-awaited construction of South Yorkshire’s tram-train project, with work expected to be finished two-and-a-half years later than originally predicted.

The project, which is expected to cost £58m to complete, will enable trams between Sheffield, Meadowhall and Rotherham to run on existing train tracks and will be the first of its kind in the UK to do so.

The date that the project is due to be finished – which had been originally set for 2015, but was delayed to spring 2016 and later January 2017 – has now been announced as summer 2018.

A spokesperson for Network Rail told RTM: “The tram-train project is ongoing and we are sorry for the delays to the pilot project and the impact which this has had on the region, our partners and commuters.

“Whilst significant progress has been made on the ground, a full review has taken place over recent months and we are committed to delivering this pilot project through a revised programme for completion.

“We’ve now updated all organisations involved that our revised programme will see the infrastructure complete during the summer of 2018.

“We know that tram and rail users in South Yorkshire are looking forward to travelling by tram train and we apologise for this further delay.”

Although the project has suffered severe delays and its fair share of trials and tribulations, the first tram-train vehicle had been shipped to the UK from its testing site in Spain in November 2015

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Jimbo   21/02/2017 at 20:33

I am surprised that little fuss has been made about how late this project is. It was originally to take a year to do the upgrade work, but after 3 years, it is now 18 months away, but without any increase in costs. If they were having trouble upgrading the route to support the trial, then the costs should have gone up, which makes it look like no-one could be bothered to actually get the work done. So why hasn't there been more fuss about it ? Do the potential users actually care about it ?

Andrew Gwilt   22/02/2017 at 01:50

So the Sheffield Supertram Tram-Train rolling stock aka the Class 399 tram-train fleet will be completed by around about June/July with the line to Rotherham via the freight line which will be shared with the Class 399 tram-trains once the electrification to Rotherham is finished and the Class 399 tram-trains will complete doing the test runs and then it's full steam ahead for the new service to Rotherham to commence service with the Class 399 tram-train fleet to start operating between Sheffield and Rotherham.

Jerry Alderson   22/02/2017 at 16:56

The tragedy with the delay of the first tram-train system is that the DfT has been waiting for it to prove itself before any other schemes are introduced - a lot of other good schemes are still in the queue because of the change of scheme to Sheffiled-Rotherham and the Netowrk Rail-caused delays. Let's hope that we have a second scheme authorised by early 2019, six-plus months after this one opens.

Jimbo   22/02/2017 at 18:20

@Andrew Gwilt - the Class 399 Tram-trains were all completed in 2015 and have been sitting in sidings ever since. If you read the article, is says the line upgrade works will not be complete until 2018, so I don't understand where you got "June/July" from ?

Huguenot   22/02/2017 at 21:52

It was a crazy idea to make this dual-voltage, given that the Network Rail track at Rotherham is unlikely ever to be electrified. It should have been single-voltage all the way, rather like the Tyne & Wear Metro from Sunderland. This must have contributed to the cost and time overruns.

David   23/02/2017 at 18:15

Huguenot, the Rotherham through line is very likely to be converted to 25kV AC when the Midland Main Line finally gets done.

Cambois   23/02/2017 at 21:35

Sadly after ORR, RSSB and NR have all changed what BR used to do, MML electrification is unlikely to happen and HS2 will need to find the money to do the line through Sheffield in 15 years time. So the 750v DC decision looks good one.

Andrew Gwilt   23/02/2017 at 21:38

@Jimbo. Maybe I was wrong. Thanks for clarifying.

Frustrated Railman   24/02/2017 at 11:51

ANOTHER NWR FAILURE!! When will people wake up to the fact that NWR don't have a clue? Their continued inability to deliver is ruining the reputation of the Railway in this country

Pdeaves   24/02/2017 at 13:18

To clarify, Huguenot, the wiring currently being installed is for 750V DC, the same as the rest of the Sheffield tram system. Clearances, etc. are (mostly) in line with 25kV AC standards to make easier conversion later if required.

Roger Capel, Sheffield   27/02/2017 at 08:16

Jimbo, presume you don't live here or pay South Yorkshire council tax. Yes, we flaming do care. We were promised Cathedral to Rotherham two years ago & all we've got is watching brand new cars gathering dust every time we pass Nunnery tram sheds on the yellow route tram. Still say DB (the experts) should have been brought in from the start!!!

Jerry Alderson   27/02/2017 at 17:07

I wasn't clear if Hugenot was saying that the extension (i.e. the NR route) should have been wired for 25kV. Obviously they assued it wiould be decades before other electric vehicles should use the route and that conversion could take place later. Is there a practical reason why they chose not to do it at 25kV from day one? Safety (i.e. increased risk of people being electrocuated) or cost (i.e. does it cost more to power at 25kV? / is there more lost power?)

Banklineman   27/02/2017 at 18:42

The reason for duel voltage infrastructure ie 750v & 25kv the line is a diversionary route btween Aldwarke Jct and Sheffield Mid via Woodburn Jct, so they are killing two birds with one stone, that said ! that dose no excuse the ridiculous amount of time to complete the project. DfT & NWR incompetence ?? or just a British disease. Sheffield Supertram as never been extended since being commissioned in the mid nineties, there are two major teaching hospitals not catered for also other important areas of the city,what does that say about local politicians. Yet Nottingham, Manchester and the West Midlands push ahead with their metro.

John Gilbert   28/02/2017 at 21:48

The pathetic saga of this project displays, alas, the inability of we British to get anything done in less than an aeon. (Also see the Great Western Electrification scheme, and several other wiring projects as well.) It's the wretched bureaucracy with which this country has always been bedevilled. (And that pushes up the costs as well of course.)

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