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.