Wednesday, June 18, 2014

News: Preparations for tram train

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Plans to upgrade the rail infrastructure in Rotherham are being developed in preparation for the innovative tram train scheme between Sheffield and Rotherham, the first project of its kind in the country.

With funding from the government, the £60m pilot scheme will see flexible vehicles run on both rail and tram networks, using the freight route from Rotherham and then joining the Sheffield Supertram network at Meadowhall South. Operated by Stagecoach, three trams an hour would run all day from Sheffield city centre through the redeveloped Rotherham Central station to Parkgate retail park.

The location of the stop at Parkgate is set to be at the Western end of Stonerow Way, the road that runs behind Parkgate Shopping retail park. Plans have been submitted to change the use of the land to operational railway land to facilitate the installation of electricity sub-station.

The plans also include assessments for the tram train route. The plans show that, at Parkgate, there will be the construction of new lines and platforms along with the electrical sub-station and cabinets which will be constructed on stilts.

As the line travels towards Rotherham Central, the tracks are going to be lowered going under Greasborough Road bridge at Northfrield to accommodate overhead power lines. Similarly, the track will be lowered under College Road at the redeveloped station in Rotherham town centre, where additional platforms and access ramps will also be constructed.

Heading to Meadowhall, tracks are going to be lowered going under Ickles viaduct and at Tinsley, a new tram stop will be constructed along with a new track linking the tram line to the railway line. The vehicles will switch to the current tram network here and carry on the journey to Sheffield Cathedral.

Led by the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), Carillion, the company working on the Tinsley Link road, was awarded a contract to undertake initial design, investigation and site establishment works on the tram train project.

The pilot will run for two years from 2016 with a view to permanent operation. If it is successful, it opens the way for tram-trains to be introduced in other parts of the country.

The improved connectivity between Sheffield and Rotherham will be a bonus. The main aim of the scheme is to prove that the tram train technology works, determine the practical and operational issues and gauge passenger perception. Popular in Europe, this will be the first time that tram trains have operated in the UK.

SYPTE website

Images: SYPTE

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