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Sheffield Nunnery depot welcomes UK’s first tram-train

The UK’s first tram-train was greeted by transport minister Andrew Jones MP at Sheffield’s Nunnery Square depot yesterday (10 December) after it finished the nearly three-week journey from Vossloh España’s plant near Valencia.

The £60m vehicle, shipped to South Yorkshire on 23 November, is the first of seven ordered to run on Sheffield’s tram and train network by 2017 – given that it is equipped with the signalling, power supply, control and community technology to run on both.

Unveiling it yesterday, Jones said: “The unveiling of the UK’s first tram-train is a major milestone and paves the way for an impressive new fleet of passenger vehicles to come into service from next year.

“This government-funded pioneering project will help transform travel in South Yorkshire with better journeys and improved connections. It will also boost economy for the local area and beyond. Good strategic transport links and infrastructure are central to rebalancing the economy, bringing the country closer together and the success of the Northern Powerhouse.”

Stagecoach Supertram’s 37m-long-train will run from the Cathedral tram stop via Meadowhall South, down onto the main rail line to Parkgate via Rotherham Central station in a 25-minute journey.

The second one is expected early next year, with the five remaining being delivered throughout 2016.

As they arrive, the vehicles will undergo a period of testing, both at the depot and across the network, before three of them are introduced on the tram section of the network next summer in order to increase capacity during peak times.

The tram-train pilot will run for two years while costs and customer satisfaction, reliability and usage are tested. If successful, it is hoped that it will continue to run as a local service.

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The pilot is the result of a partnership between the Department for Transport, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), Network Rail, Stagecoach and Northern Rail.

SYPTE’s executive director, Stephen Edwards, said: “The arrival of the first vehicle is an important milestone for the pilot scheme, to test whether the technology could be used elsewhere. Tram-train complements South Yorkshire’s transport objectives of improved connectivity and regional growth, and has the ability to transform networks both locally and nationally.”

Supertram’s managing director, Margaret Kay, added that the company will continue to train new drivers in preparation of passenger services next year.

The expected timeline of the tram-train fleet, after some delay to the programme, is as follows:

  • December 2015: tram-train testing begins
  • January 2016: Supertram tracks prepapred for tram-train
  • Spring 2016: three tram-trains introduced on the Supertram network
  • Autumn 2016: New platforms built at Rotherham station and Parkgate
  • Winter 2016: Completion and electrification of the tram-train network
  • Early 2017: tram-train passenger services begin
  • Source: SYPTE

(Images c. Department for Transport)


Pedr   11/12/2015 at 12:40

I like the multi-gauge track. What are they all, please?

Jeds   11/12/2015 at 15:49

At a guess I say Iberian gauge 1670mm, Standard gauge, one metre gauge, and 800 mm. The vehicle appears to be sitting on a platform that can slide laterally.

Fitology Phil   11/12/2015 at 17:09

I shall look forward to seeing the new tram trains running on the street tracks next year, and the tram train service starting in 2017. Having worked on the Project before I retired six years ago, it has been a long wait.

Roger Capel, Sheffield   14/12/2015 at 09:02

Never mind "spring"; the recent fender-bender at Shalesmoor followed by temporary withdrawal of ONE car & cutting Purple route services show just how marginal the Supertram roling stock situation is. We need new cars in service NOW!!!

Davidb_   09/01/2016 at 13:19

Sorry Roger, I wouldn't want to send brand-new and untested rolling stock into passenger service, would you?

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