Tuesday, July 31, 2018

News: Tram-train spotted in Rotherham

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You may have thought that the day may never come but the Sheffield-Rotherham tram-train project is moving ever closer to servicing Rotherham as the innovative new vehicles are now being tested in the borough.

First mentioned in 2009, the now £100m+ project 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. The service will run between Parkgate and Sheffield Cathedral.

Work was completed in April on overhead power lines in the Tinsley area to connect the Supertram and Network Rail routes. The new Citylink vehicles, which have been operating on the regular Supertram timetable from October 2017 to support the existing Stagecoach service, were tested on the heavy rail network overnight in May.

Daylight testing and driver training is now underway along the Network Rail line and, as the video below shows, vehicles have been spotted at the new lowered platforms at Rotherham Central station in addition to testing out the new sidings and turnback at Parkgate.

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The project has been delayed a number of times as Network Rail struggled to get to grips with some of the heavy rail modifications, including power, track modifications, approvals and testing and commissioning. The lead contractor, Carillion, entered administration at the start of 2018.

New vehicles will eventually run between Sheffield city centre and Parkgate via Meadowhall South and Rotherham town centre. A revised construction programme was announced last year that points to infrastructure being completed during Summer 2018.

Network Rail says that the new tram train route is expected to open "by late autumn" 2018.

With funding from the Government, the 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.

A report from the National Audit Office (NAO) criticised the management of the trial when it revealed that by December 2016, the cost of the works, which had been given an initial estimate of £15m, had quadrupled to £75.1m, pushing the overall cost of the scheme over £100m.

The Government's Public Accounts Committee looked at the issues of cost increases and delays, the under-estimation of the scale and complexity of the works, and the risks involved in delivering new technology. It said that the project had all the makings of a "how not to" seminar for future projects.

Supertram website
SYPTE website

Images: Martin Miller / YouTube

1 comments:

rko8633 August 13, 2018 at 9:30 AM  

Saw it parked outside back of parkgate shops a few weeks back where they have built a sort of a platform and also looks like the end of the track.

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