It’s a day many thought would never happen – a Tram-Train has run onto the UK national rail network as part of the gauging trials ahead of full blown commissioning and testing later in the summer. 399 202 once again had the honour of being the “first” (having also been the first to run with passengers) with its first movements over the Tinsley Chord – which links Supertram with Network Rail metals – taking place in the early hours of Thursday 10th May.
399 202 ran over the chord and ran along the line under its own power as far as the Magna Science Park in Rotherham to check that all was as it should be and no ill effects were reported on these first slow speed movements. The Tram-Train then returned to Nunnery Depot its place in history once again secured.
More excitement followed in the early hours of the following morning, Friday 11th May, when 399 202 returned to testing. This included a DB Cargo class 66 diesel locomotive, 66 156, being used to couple up to the Tram-Train to help test possible recovery procedures in case of failure on the Network Rail line through to Rotherham.
It is now expected that commissioning and testing of the line will continue over the next few months with a hoped for start of services in late summer – almost certainly going to be September 2018 unless it gets delayed any further. As things currently stand there is still some construction work required especially at Rotherham Central Station where very little progress has been made in recent weeks.