Thursday, June 20, 2013

News: Minister confirms Vossloh for Rotherham tram-train project


Vossloh España has been confirmed as the supplier of seven tram-trains for the innovative scheme between Sheffield and Rotherham, the first project of its kind in the country.

The £60m pilot scheme will see flexible vehicles run 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.

The project would include major works such as the electrification of a stretch of track between Sheffield and Rotherham and the construction of 400 metre line linking the tramway to the train tracks.

New platforms will also be built at Meadowhall South and at Rotherham Parkgate, and Rotherham Central Station's platforms will be extended to facilitate the new service. Future station options will also be considered.

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) confirmed the contract with the subsidiary of German rail infrastructure and rail technology specialists, Vossloh AG, at an event yesterday with Norman Baker MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Transport.

Manufactured in Valencia, the vehicles are equipped with pneumatic suspension which provides superior dynamic characteristics as well as a comfortable and smooth ride. The tram-trains are equipped with modern traction systems of Vossloh Kiepe and are specially adapted to the needs and requirements of the project, fulfilling all the customers actual requirements.

The scheme would improve connectivity within the labour market and support economic growth by making better use of the existing tram network and free up capacity at Sheffield Rail Station by diverting services onto the tram network. The project is also expected to create 35 new jobs locally.

The pilot will run for two years with a view to permanent operation. If it is successful, it opens the way for tram-trains to be introduced in other parts of the country. The South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) estimate that the trial will generate potential industry benefits in excess of £38m.

Norman Baker MP, said: "Providing better connections between the heart of Sheffield and Rotherham's city centres and residential areas will help to reinvigorate the local economy. It will also encourage people to leave their cars at home.

"Tram-Trains are an innovative and high-capacity transport system which have proved very successful in other European cities.

"We will be monitoring the scheme over the course of the next two years and I look forward to seeing if it would be appropriate to replicate it elsewhere in the UK."

Cllr Mick Jameson, chair of the South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority, said: "Today's signing is further welcome investment by Government in the transport infrastructure of South Yorkshire. The project will provide important enhanced local connectivity and demonstrate the potential, both locally and nationally, of this new technology to deliver value for money services. We are excited to be a project partner in this ground breaking project."

Tram network owner South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) and system operator Stagecoach Supertram are to fund a major programme of rail replacement works on the network, with the majority of work being undertaken during the next five years at an estimated capital cost of £32m.

The work being carried out will be aligned with the planned tram-train project, which is now expected to be in operation by 2016.

SYPTE website
Vossloh website

Images: DfT / Vossloh


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