Monday, November 14, 2016

News: Tram-train now expected "mid-2018"

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The innovative Sheffield-Rotherham tram-train service that was scheduled to reach the borough in 2017 has been delayed further and is now expected to launch in 2018.

The delayed pilot project, first mentioned in 2009, will see vehicles running on both rail and tram networks, using the freight route from Rotherham and then joining the Sheffield Supertram network at Meadowhall South.

With funding from the Government, the £60m scheme is set to run for two years with a view to permanent operation. It is the first of its kind in the UK and if it is successful, it opens the way for tram trains to be introduced in other parts of the country.

Rothbiz reported in March that there had been further delays to the tram train project caused by Network Rail who have been getting to grips with some of heavy rail modifications, including power, track modifications, approvals and testing and commissioning.

Six of the seven new vehicles have already been delivered and are set to be used on the existing network from next year until the new extension is complete.

At a recent meeting of the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority Transport Committee, Steve Edwards, executive director of the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) explained that Network Rail are continuing discussions with the Department for Transport (DfT) over increasing budgets and a delayed start date.

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The DfT is the client in this project, with South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) responsible for the delivery of all of the light rail modifications, rail replacement and procurement of the seven vehicles. Network Rail is separately responsible to DfT to deliver the heavy rail modifications required for the project.

The region's transport bosses have been frustrated by the delays in updates from Network Rail and revised spend profiles but now a new start date for the service is close to being finalised.

Steve Edwards, executive director of the SYPTE, said: "Network Rail have done a review of the programme. They are close to announcing that revised timetable. The indication that we've been given is that it will be the middle of 2018 and we are waiting for formal confirmation of that for the service to go live.

"Physical works are progressing and there are very visible signs along the new route of that work being underway. The issue that is being resolved at the moment is, becasue of the delay to the programme, there are some additional costs that are going to be incurred. Network Rail and the DfT are discussing how that will be funded. Once that discussion is concluded then we will get a revised date."

Operated by Stagecoach, three trams an hour are set to run all day from Sheffield city centre through Rotherham Central to Parkgate retail park. The running time from Parkgate to Sheffield Cathedral will be about 25 minutes.

SYPTE website

Images: SYPTE


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