25th October 2018 will not just mark two months until Christmas but will also see the start of public services on the UK’s Tram-Train pilot between Sheffield and Rotherham. Unusually starting on a Thursday the service will run three times an hour between Cathedral in Sheffield City Centre and Rotherham Parkgate via Rotherham Central railway station.
It has been a very hard and long road to get this far but after the successful shadow running which has been running for the past few weeks – and the completion of finishing works at the two new stops in Rotherham – the go-ahead has now been given for the public to ride on what is officially a two year pilot service to garner customer satisfaction, passenger numbers, reliability and costs before decisions are made on the introduction of further Tram-Trains in the UK. If it is a success at the end of two years the service will continue to run as part of the Supertram network.
Steve Davenport, SYPTE Tram Train Project Board Member, said: “As project partner we are thrilled, to introduce Tram Train services on South Yorkshire’s transport network later this month. 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.”
Details of fares have not yet been publicly announced but it has been said tickets will be able to be bought from conductors on board.
Tram-Trains will run three times an hour (although because of national rail services these will not be at a 20 minute frequency) departing from Cathedral in the city centre before travelling on the conventional Supertram network as far as Meadowhall South where they will then use the newly constructed Tinsley Chord to access Network Rail metals. The vehicles then continue to Rotherham Central railway station where new low level platforms have been constructed and then onto a single platform terminus at Rotherham Parkgate. Three Tram-Trains will be required to operate the service on a daily basis.
There can be no hiding from the fact that the project is severely late and very over budget but finally on Thursday 25th October public services will begin!