Tuesday, April 18, 2017

News: Tram trains tested as engineering work takes place


Essential engineering works to prepare the Supertram system for the £60m Sheffield-Rotherham tram train project is taking place and the innovative new vehicles are being tested.

The 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.

The project has been delayed a number of times as Network Rail get to grips with some of the heavy rail modifications, including power, track modifications, approvals and testing and commissioning. The service is expected to begin in Summer 2018.

Overnight engineering work to prepare the Supertram system for Tram Train has been underway since October 2015. However, more complex work can only be completed during daylight hours and over weekends. The Easter weekend was used to carry out works at the critical junction connection which sits at the start of a new 400m section of track called the Tinsley Chord.

At Rotherham Central, engineers from Network Rail will replace College Road bridge. The old road bridge needs to be demolished and a new, higher one installed so that the overhead lines which will power the Tram Trains can be safely installed underneath. To allow the bridge to be replaced, College Road will be closed for until August 18 2017.

At Parkgate in Rotherham work is being carried out for a new station where vehicles can stop and head back.

Future works include the construction of a new section of track called the Tinsley Chord to link the tram system to the rail line between Sheffield and Rotherham.


Cllr Denise Lelliott, Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy at Rotherham Council, said: "In recent weeks we have seen overhead masts being installed between Tinsley and Parkgate and work started on the construction of the Tram Train platform at Parkgate. The Tram Train project will complement the Council's ambitious plans for the borough. By continuing to develop the mixed retail offer at Rotherham and Parkgate, and by providing better linkages between Rotherham and Sheffield, we will attract more visitors into the town and create more local job opportunities."

Initial testing and mileage accumulation of the seven Citylink Tram Train vehicles delivered and commissioned for the scheme is now underway. Learning from South Yorkshire's pilot scheme will help the rail industry assess if Tram Train technology could be used elsewhere.

Seven Citylink Class 399 vehicles have been delivered and are stabled at Stagecoach Supertram's Nunnery Square depot. Of these seven, three will run on the Supertram network and three will run as Tram Trains between Sheffield City Centre and Parkgate in 2018. One vehicle will be used as a spare.

Stephen Edwards, Executive Director of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, said: "People in Sheffield will start seeing the new vehicles running "out of service" in-between scheduled trams. This important testing is making sure the vehicles and the existing Supertram system are working as they should.

"Driver training will commence shortly and we aim to put the Citylink vehicles into service to supplement Supertram services from this summer. The vehicles will then be tested on the heavy rail network early next year, before going into Tram Train passenger service."

The Department for Transport (DfT) is the client in the tram-train 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.

With funding from the Government, the £60m scheme is set to run for two years with a view to permanent operation.

SYPTE website

Images: SYPTE


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