Tuesday, December 16, 2014

News: SCR devolution deal in detail - Transport

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"Oyster-style" cards and a commitment to getting the Sheffield to Rotherham Tram-Train trial up and running were included in the "devolution deal" agreed between the Government and the leaders of the Sheffield city region (SCR).

"Government will work with Network Rail to ensure that the appropriate infrastructure works are undertaken to support introduction of the Tram Train service utilising Sheffield's new vehicles on delivery." That means that the delayed pilot project, first mentioned in 2009, is now set to begin in 2017, running vehicles 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.

Rothbiz was first with the news that more delays had been encountered in the Summer, when transport leaders in the SCR were forced to write to the Transport Secretary to express some concerns about the delays to the project and to seek a way to resolve them.

Phil Verster, route managing director at Network Rail, said: "Tram-train will bring lasting benefits to passengers in the Sheffield and Rotherham areas, and detailed design of the infrastructure to support this exciting project is well underway. We assessed our delivery programme and the work needed to adapt the network is expected to be complete to allow Tram Train passenger services to start in January 2017.

"We must make sure we are maximising efficiencies by aligning the project with our other investment programmes. The revised project timescale is also allowing us to improve the alignment of the route at Meadowhall, better utilising the existing tramway stop and creating an improved experience for the passenger."

The first of seven tram-trains will arrive in September 2015 for testing on what is the first project of its kind in the country.

Also in the deal is the commitment to give the city region more control over local transport schemes including the preparation for HS2 and tackling troubled transport routes like the M1 Tinsley viaduct.

Existing bus partnership agreements are set to be enhanced with optimised networks and a smart ticketing scheme, and the city region is set to have a louder voice on long term priorities for the rail and strategic highways networks.

Images: SYPTE

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