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Testing on Sheffield tram-train pilot finally starts

Testing has finally begun on the UK’s first tram-train vehicles which are expected to be rolled out onto the network in 2018.

The pilot scheme marks the first count of tram-trains in the UK and will provide a direct connection between Sheffield city centre and Rotherham Central and Parkgate by operating on both the tram and train network.

Initial testing and mileage accumulation for the seven Citylink tram-trains has now begun as engineers looked to prepare the rolling stock for its formal introduction next year.

Three of the Citylink Class 399 vehicles will run on the Supertram network and three will run as tram-trains between Sheffield and Parkgate, with one left as spare.

The project, which was originally meant to begin running in 2015, has been delayed a number of times due to traction problems, but today’s news may signal that real progress has been made on rolling out the pilot.

Last month, RTM reported that the project had finally been given a completion date of summer 2018 – a full two and a half years later than originally planned.

Rail leaders now hope that the potential success in Sheffield will open the doors for the expansion of tram-trains to similar projects across the country.

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive’s (SYPTE’s) executive director, Stephen Edwards, said: “People in Sheffield will start seeing the new vehicles running ‘out of service’ in-between scheduled trams. This important testing is making sure the vehicles and the existing Supertram system are working as they should.

“Driver training will commence shortly and we aim to put the Citylink vehicles into service to supplement Supertram services from this summer. The vehicles will then be tested on the heavy rail network early next year, before going into tram-train passenger service.”

Engineering work to accommodate the tram-trains was undertaken between October 2015 and February 2016 to adapt the network for the vehicles.

The pilot is being delivered by SYPTE, Stagecoach Supertram, Network Rail, Arriva Rail North and the DfT.

Work is also scheduled to construct a new section of track called the Tinsley Chord to link trams to the rail line between Sheffield and Rotherham, as well as to build new platforms at Rotherham Central and Parkgate and the electrification of the network.

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David   05/04/2017 at 13:22

Eh? They've been doing driver training on these for a number of weeks now.

Andrew Gwilt   06/04/2017 at 20:52

It'll be the first ever tram-train to be introduced for Sheffield and Rotherham. Other UK cities could also allow tram-trains to be introduced. Manchester is already expanding its own tram network to the eastern side of Manchester and future extension to Stockport in southwest Greater Manchester and Manchester Airport via Wythenshaw.

Walace58   07/04/2017 at 13:04

What is a tram-train, just like acronyms it is always quoted but not explained. Bad journalism. Or writing generally

Roger Capel, Sheffield   10/04/2017 at 07:43

Thank god! Yes David, I saw 203 at Hillsborough weeks ago. Never mind TramTrain, Supertram runs a 24 car service with a 25 car fleet, hence the Purple route getting part-chopped after the bump at Shalesmoor put two out of service last year. There's no margin & these extra cars are needed NOW!!!

TJ   10/04/2017 at 10:15

"Delayed due to traction problems"? Delayed due to the inability of Network Rail to design and project manage the electrification of 6km of track and the construction of the link track, more like. Although I suppose it's true that if you try to run an electric train without a power supply and track you will be sure to have some traction problems.

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