Tram-train trial

Rail (UK) - - Contents - Richard Clin­nick richard.clin­nick@bauer­me­ As­sis­tant Edi­tor @Clin­nick1

A tram-train will carry pas­sen­gers on the na­tional net­work for the first time as Sh­effield be­gins two-year tram-train trial.

A tram-train should carry pas­sen­gers on the na­tional rail net­work for the first time on Oc­to­ber 25.

South York­shire Pas­sen­ger Trans­port Ex­ec­u­tive (SYPTE) con­firmed to RAIL that the ve­hi­cles will run be­tween Sh­effield and Rother­ham.

“The pi­o­neer­ing pi­lot has the abil­ity to trans­form travel both lo­cally and na­tion­ally. Con­nect­ing the peo­ple and places in Sh­effield and Rother­ham marks the start of this jour­ney. We hope pas­sen­gers from the lo­cal area and be­yond en­joy the ben­e­fits this new trans­port op­tion will pro­vide,” said SYPTE Tram Train Project Board Mem­ber Steve Daven­port.

Three trains per hour will run from Sh­effield Cathe­dral to Mead­owhall South, be­fore us­ing the new 160-me­tre Tins­ley Chord to link to the na­tional net­work, and run to Park­gate Re­tail Cen­tre via Rother­ham Cen­tral.

The trial will run for two years, with cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, pas­sen­ger num­bers, re­li­a­bil­ity and costs as­sessed. SYPTE said the core ob­jec­tives of the trial are: ■ To un­der­stand the changes to in­dus­try costs of op­er­at­ing a lighter-weight ve­hi­cle with track brakes on the na­tional rail net­work. ■ To de­ter­mine changes to the tech­ni­cal stan­dards re­quired to al­low in­ter-running of light­weight tram ve­hi­cles with heavy rail pas­sen­ger and freight traf­fic, and to gain the max­i­mum cost ben­e­fit from tram-train op­er­a­tion. The prac­ti­cal­ity of op­er­a­tional is­sues and ex­pand­ing onto the na­tional net­work will also be as­sessed.

Stadler has built seven Class 399/2 tram-trains. They can op­er­ate on both the 750V over­head line equip­ment on Sh­effield’s Su­per­tram net­work and the 25kV on the na­tional net­work.

The ‘399s’ have been used on the Sh­effield net­work ahead of their in­tro­duc­tion onto this new ser­vice. They have Road Traf­fic Act­com­pli­ant head lights, horns, wing mir­rors and di­rec­tion in­di­ca­tors nec­es­sary for on-street op­er­a­tion, while they are also fit­ted with the nec­es­sary main line equip­ment such as Train Pro­tec­tion Warn­ing Sys­tem and Global Sys­tem for Mobile Com­mu­ni­ca­tion - Railway (GSM-R).

The project has re­quired build­ing new tram-train plat­forms at Rother­ham Cen­tral and Park­gate, and adapt­ing the Sh­effield Su­per­tram net­work to ac­com­mo­date the wheel pro­file of the ‘399s’.

Tram-trains were due to start in 2015, but there were de­lays to the ap­proval of the Tins­ley Chord and the in­tro­duc­tion date con­tin­ued to slip. The first ‘399s’ were de­liv­ered in late 2015, with de­liv­ery of the fleet tak­ing a year.


Tram-trains op­er­ated by Sh­effield Su­per­tram are due to en­ter traf­fic on the na­tional net­work be­fore the end of Oc­to­ber. On July 31, 399204 stands at the Park­gate tram ter­mi­nus plat­form, as it is passed by North­ern 144002 with the 1151 Hull-Sh­effield ser­vice.

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