Wednesday, November 8, 2023

News: Supertram renewal will cost £596m


The cost to keep the Supertram network going for another 30 years in South Yorkshire is now nearly £600m, new combined authority papers show.

Only the first £105.95m has been secured and the total doesn't include the Sheffield-Rotherham tram-train or any future extensions.

Opened in 1994, Sheffield's Supertram system cost £240m and now serves major residential and employment sites in Sheffield. A tram-train pilot project brought new vehicles to Rotherham in 2018.

The running of Supertram services, infrastructure and finances will be controlled by South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) when Stagecoach’s current contract for operation of the network ends next March.

In 2021, the MCA successfully secured a £100m grant from the Department for Transport’s City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS), which supports a partial renewal and life extension of the tram assets.

Work has continued on an Outline Business Case (OBC) for submission to the Department for Transport (DfT) to confirm the release of resources and satisfy the DfT that there is a case for ongoing tram asset renewal.

SYMCA papers show that, based on the full cost of renewals (up to 2032) is £596m.

Studies have indicated that the fleet should start to be replaced from 2024 as there are issues with obsolete parts, particularly in the motor and auxiliary power supply systems on the vehicle. Traction power supply/substations, supervision, control and communication system also need to be replaced in the next few years. Work to modernise the depot and passenger facilities is also required.

The preferred option for a new fleet of trams would allow Supertram to operate until at least 2054.

The £596m cost includes inflation (and the £100m CRSTS allocation) but doesn't cover things like the relatively new tram-train operation, work on park & ride sites (like those underway at Parkgate and Magna in Rotherham), or any extensions to the network.

SYMCA's transport vision includes extending tram/tram-train coverage across the Sheffield city region. New routes from Rotherham to Swinton and Doncaster, and the potential to use the route passing a new station planned for Waverley have been mentioned.

The report to the Mayoral Combined Authority Board states: "It was agreed that the case for renewing the existing network needs to be made and opportunities for extensions are actively being reviewed as part of a separate tram vision exercise."

The authority's Audit, Standards and Risk committee were also told that "the expansion of the tram network was a longer-term ambition for the MCA. It would be important to invest in the current network and ensure it was fit for the future before considering expansion."

In the short term, The MCA has established an arm’s length, wholly owned, subsidiary company to operate the Supertram system from March 2024. But this too will cost the authority as the operation is currently loss-making.

£7m is being set aside from the MCA budgets to support any operating losses. This is £7m each year, reducing over time.

A long period of track renewal and the COVID pandemic has seen patronage fall from its peak of 15 million passengers per annum in 2010/11. Now, around 9.5 million people travel on Supertram every year. The new company's five year strategy sees Supertram go through a recovery phase before an improvement phase and then a growth phase.

The region has not yet finished paying for the original cost of the tram. The SYPTE (now subsumed by SYMCA) had a deficit of £30.5m on its general reserve budget relating to part of the construction of the Sheffield tram network and extended loans in 2014 that, unless repaid early, would still be paying off into 2034.

Images: SYMCA


Anonymous,  November 8, 2023 at 11:58 AM  

Still gutted it didn't come to Bramley, would've been a huge benefit.

Anonymous,  November 8, 2023 at 8:57 PM  

Stopped by Nimbys in Wickersley

Anonymous,  November 10, 2023 at 12:27 PM  

A few prominent NIMBYs in Bramley as well!

Anonymous,  November 11, 2023 at 12:08 AM  

That you Jez?

Anonymous,  November 11, 2023 at 11:45 AM  

I may be wrong as it was a fair few years ago, but weren't Bramley Parish Council against the Tram? I really hope they weren't!

Anonymous,  November 11, 2023 at 5:33 PM  

I think you may be right. They felt that the noise of the tram would disturb the clientele of the King Henry

Anonymous,  November 12, 2023 at 8:02 AM  

Very short sighted of them if true. Weren't the Masons involved as well?

Anonymous,  November 14, 2023 at 6:44 AM  

The pub or the funny handshake mob?

Anonymous,  November 15, 2023 at 7:15 AM  

The funny handshake mob in the pub.

Anonymous,  November 15, 2023 at 1:57 PM  

Being a Mason is no laughing matter.

Anonymous,  November 15, 2023 at 10:14 PM  

So Lodge a complaint

Anonymous,  November 16, 2023 at 12:05 PM  

I can't, my apron's in the wash

Anonymous,  November 17, 2023 at 1:31 PM  

Hail Eternal!, by who's aid

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