Government green-lights £60m tram train line from Sheffield to Rotherham

A sign of transport to come in Sheffield
A sign of transport to come in Sheffield
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TRAM-TRAINS which run on street tracks and railway lines are to be piloted in South Yorkshire in a scheme worth nearly £60 million, the Government confirmed today.

Transport minister Norman Baker told Parliament he had given final approval for the trial project which will see services running between Rotherham, Meadowhall and Sheffield.

Starting in 2015, the tram-trains will run on Sheffield’s local tram routes and Network Rail lines to provide a continuous service between each location.

Mr Baker said the £58 million pilot was designed to test the concept for possible wider roll-out across the UK.

In a written statement to Parliament, he said: “The pilot I am announcing today will allow us to determine the practical and operational issues of extending tram-trains from the national network to on-street running, and (also) running trams and heavy rail vehicles safely over existing heavy rail infrastructure.

“It will also allow us to gauge passenger perception and acceptability of tram-trains.

“The pilot will see the introduction from 2015 of new tram-train vehicles capable of using both light and heavy rail infrastructure, so providing continuous travel from Sheffield’s Supertram network on to Network Rail’s national rail network, as well as providing more capacity on the Supertram system itself.”

Mr Baker said the pilot would run for two years and the £58 million budget would cover the cost of new vehicles and infrastructure changes.