Its the news that fans of UK light rail have been waiting for – Britain’s first tram-trains are set to make their debut in passenger-carrying service on the Sheffield Supertram network on Sunday 17th September! The units will be operating a special extra service on the blue and yellow routes on this day, with all proceeds raised from their operation being donated to charity, giving further good reason to go along and sample them for the first time.
The entry into service of the new ‘City Link’ tram-trains in Sheffield has certainly been a long time coming but, following extensive testing over the summer, the wait is finally almost over. The new vehicles will be available to ride on Sunday 17th September, when they will operate to a special timetable. The first historic departure is from Meadowhall at 1013, and they will then perform a small number of journeys until the afternoon, the last of which is scheduled to be at the Cathedral stop in the city centre at 1500. These runs are in addition to the ordinary tram service which will not be affected by these special workings.
In an act of great generosity, Stagecoach have announced that no charge will be made to ride on the new tram-trains on this day. Instead, they will have a collection bucket on board, with passengers encouraged to make a cash donation to support The Children’s Hospital Charity. Demand for these historic runs is likely to be high, especially as seats are available on a first come, first served basis.
Hopefully this unique event will mark the beginning of a long and prosperous working life for the ‘City Link’ class, but the first day is still clearly going to be one to remember as it marks a huge step forward in the long-running saga of the UK’s first ever tram-train project. As the event is being held the day after Crich Tramway Village’s ‘Tram Day’, a weekend in the Midlands could well be an attractive proposition for tram enthusiasts, indeed September is shaping up to be potentially the most exciting month of 2017 for all things tram!