Testing of the Vossloh Class 399 tram-trains begins in Sheffield, ahead of main line testing starting next year.
Testing of the Vossloh Class 399 tram-trains started in Sheffield on April 4.
Over the Easter period (April 13-17), Network Rail also connected the tram network with the national network at Tinsley.
The Class 399s were built in 2014-15 and are now undergoing testing and mileage accumulation before entering service on Sheffield Supertram this summer on supplementary duties. They are expected to begin entering revenue-earning service from June.
Main line testing on Network Rail metals is due to start next year.
The seven three-car units will run between Sheffield city centre and Rotherham from 2018, with four accepted by Stagecoach Supertram and undergoing testing, and the remainder awaiting final acceptance.
Around 150 Supertram staff will be trained to drive the vehicles, with 100 of these staff drivers. Duty managers, controllers and other staff form the remainder..
Construction of the Tinsley Chord (to link street running sections in Rotherham with the National Rail network) involved installation of two sets of switches and crossings.
Other work to be completed includes new tram-train platforms at Rotherham Central and Parkgate, as well as completing electrification of the network.
Signalling is due to be commissioned in May, with overhead line electrification works expected to be completed by Network Rail towards the end of the year.
“People in Sheffield will start seeing the new vehicles running ‘out of service’ in between scheduled trams,” said South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive Director Stephen Edwards.
“This important testing is making sure the vehicles and the existing Supertram system are working as they should.”
Above: On April 18, Sheffield tram-train 399207 stands near the newly built junction at Tinsley that connects the tram network with the national network. The connection was installed over Easter, and from next year the ‘399s’ will operate from Sheffield to Rotherham, using this chord. Signalling is due to be commissioned in May, with overhead line electrification to be built by the end of 2017.
Right: The first Sheffield tram-train (399201) approaches Sheffield Midland on April 7. Seven tram-trains will enter traffic this summer on the existing light rail system, with main line testing planned next year.