Monday, September 19, 2016

News: The future of Supertram

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Businesses in the Sheffield city region are being asked to have their say on the future of Supertram to help shape long-term plans for the system.

The concession for running the Supertram sytem, currently held by operator, Stagecoach, ends in 2024. The city region is hoping to secure Government funding for refurbishment that would ensure that it could run for another 30 years.

Opened in 1994, Sheffield's Supertram system cost a reported £240m and now serves major residential and employment sites in Sheffield. A delayed tram-train pilot project is set to bring new vehicles to Rotherham in 2017.

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) will hold a public consultation from 19 September – 30 October 2016 to find out what people think about Supertram, how the network could be developed or improved, and how services could fit with other transport.

A £75m+ bid into the Government £475m Large Local Major Schemes fund, covers the replacement of assets that are reaching the end of their economic life, including the replacement of the existing fleet of vehicles. This scheme also forms the foundation to allow future tram/tram train based mass transit extensions to support key growth areas across the SCR with enhanced connectivity.

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Stephen Edwards, executive director at SYPTE, said: "Supertram supports Sheffield's modern identity and has connected people to jobs, education and leisure in the city centre and beyond for over 21 years. Whilst we continue to make significant investment in the network, parts of the system are coming to the end of their working life and the time is right for us to consider how Supertram can best support the evolving needs of the Region."

Martin McKervey, Sheffield City Region LEP lead board business member for transport and partner at Nabarro LLP, said: "Supertram plays a key role in the delivery of the Sheffield City Region Strategic Economic Plan, attracting businesses into our city region and visitors and workers into our city centre to maximise productivity and economic growth.

"Finding out what people want from future Supertram services will inform our business case for the investment needed to build on this, as well providing a starting point for a Sheffield City Region Mass Transit Strategy that will maximise the benefits of other transport systems, such as HS2."

The SYPTE had a deficit of £30.5m on its general reserve budget relating to part of the construction of the Sheffield tram network and extended loans in 2014 that will mean it will still be paying for initial work into 2034.

A major programme of rail replacement works on the network is also underway, with the majority of work being undertaken during the next five years at an estimated capital cost of £32m.

Trams 2 and 3 as part of the tram-train vehicle project have been delivered to South Yorkshire from Spain but Network Rail has yet to provide an accurate alternative completion date for its part of the project, despite some progress on the heavy rail modifications.

Rotherham Council has approached SYPTE to establish if an additional stop in the Tram Train service could be implemented at Magna in Templeborough and feasibility work is taking place.

SYPTE website

Images: Stagecoach


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