Monday, July 18, 2011

News: Rotherham tram-train project moves on


Negotiations are taking place between Northern Rail and German manufacturer, Vossloh regarding the procurement of vehicles for the proposed tram-train project in Rotherham.

Passengers could see tram-trains running between Sheffield and Rotherham using the current freight route from Rotherham and then joining the Sheffield Supertram network at Meadowhall South. Three trams an hour would run all day from Sheffield city centre through Rotherham Central to Parkgate retail park.

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, Northern Rail and Network Rail are bringing the project forward and aim to be up and running in 2014. The partners secured a £150,000 government grant in March to further develop the project.

Norman Baker, Minister for Transport, discussed the project during a recent meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Light Rail Group. He explained that Network Rail are currently undergoing a study into the investment needed in the infrastructure.

South Yorkshire PTE and Stagecoach Supertram are looking at how the vehicles would affect their system infrastructure as they are heavier than normal trams. They are also managing the demand and revenue modelling aspect of the business case and considering how the pilot can assist with local regeneration objectives in the area.

It was also outlined how Northern Trains have led the procurement of a fleet of vehicles and Vossloh have been identified as lead bidder and negotiations continue. They have worked closely with SYPTE and Supertram on an operating model for the service and again these discussions continue.

Vossloh has produced vehicles for similar systems operating in Saarbrücken and Munich in Germany and León and Mallorca in Spain.

Mr Baker added: "It is my plan to consider the Tram Train business case in more detail over the course of the summer and autumn. If the business case is satisfactory and the tram train pilot is affordable I would like to authorise the scheme by early 2012. I anticipate that the pilot would open in 2014.

"I believe this pilot has real potential for roll out on other parts of the network and could lead to regeneration and more economic operation of rural and lightly used lines where diesel traction would be more feasible."

Images: Vossloh


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