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First Sheffield tram-train shipped

The country’s first £60m tram-train vehicle has been shipped to Sheffield from its testing site at Vossloh España’s plant near Valencia.

Stagecoach Supertram’s 37m-long tram-train will travel for two weeks over land and sea until reaching South Yorkshire on 1 December, just slightly after the predicted November arrival.

The vehicle – the first of seven ordered – will run from the Cathedral tram stop via Meadowhall South in Sheffield, down onto the main rail line to Parkgate via Rotherham Central station in a 25-minute journey.

The order marks the UK’s first real experience with tram-trains, a vehicle equipped with the signalling, power supply, control and communication technology to run on both street tram lines and the rail network.

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

Once they have arrived, the tram-trains will undergo testing before three of the vehicles are introduced on the tram section of the network next summer in order to increase capacity during peak times.

The flexible vehicles were expected to run on the entire network by spring 2016, but delayed works, particularly around traction design, eventually pushed the delivery deadline to January 2017.

In July, members of the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority’s transport committee spoke out about their disappointment with the project’s delay.

Changes have already been made to the Nunnery Square Supertram depot, which will house the tram-trains, and parts of the network have been replaced to allow the vehicles to run.

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive’s chief executive, Steve Edwards, said on behalf of the project team: “The design and planning to make tram-trains run is a complex operation and we’re delighted this important milestone brings us one step closer to making the scheme a reality.

“Tram-train will demonstrate the potential, both locally and nationally, of this new technology to deliver value for money services. It will provide a boost to the regional economy, thanks to improved connections across the region. And, if the pilot is successful, it opens the way for tram-trains to be introduced in other parts of the country.”

Other major works required to introduce the tram-trains include electrifying the rail route between Sheffield and Rotherham, building new tram-train platforms at Rotherham Central station and Parkgate, and constructing a new 160m section of track, called the Tinsley Chord, liking the tramway to the train line near Meadowhall.

The tram-train pilot will run for two years while passenger numbers, reliability, costs and customer satisfaction are tested, after which it will continue to run as a local service if it is successful.

The project is a collaboration between Network Rail, Stagecoach Supertram, Northern Rail, the Department for Transport and the region’s transport executive.


Geoff Kerr   26/11/2015 at 11:30

Any chance of a tram stop at Rotherham's New York stadium, which is right next to the line?

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