Last year when Leeds United visited Sheffield Wednesday for a Championship football match there were reports of serious incidents including vandalism and damage to trams and intimidation of staff with physical and verbal assaults. As a result Supertram met with both Sheffield Wednesday and South Yorkshire Police to discuss how safety could be improved for all tram users and employees in the future but recommendations made (including reduced away tickets and options to manage the transport of away fans) have not been agreed with Sheffield Wednesday which has led Supertram to make the decision to temporarily suspend service through Hillsborough on Saturday 26th October when the two teams meet in Sheffield for the first time since the incidents.
There will be no trams beyond Cathedral in Sheffield City Centre both before and after the game with services from Middlewood and Halfway terminating there between 1030 and 1230 and 1330 and 1530. Services will continue to run on the unaffected sections to a revised timetable (which will be published on the Stagecoach Supertram website) but it is possible delays and alterations may be necessary across the whole network.
In a statement Supertram said: “Recommendations were made in terms of how potentially difficult fixtures could be managed including reduced away tickets and options to manage the transport of away fans. Unfortunately for the above fixture none of these have been supported by Sheffield Wednesday. In light of this and following discussions with South Yorkshire Police, we have regretfully had to take the difficult decision to suspend tram services between the City Centre and Hillsborough for a period of time prior to the game and after the game. We appreciate the inconvenience this may cause to both tram users unconnected to football and those fans who travel with consideration for others, but this decision is taken in the best interests of the safety for all involved.”
It is certainly disappointing that the actions of a mindless few have led Supertram to have to make this decision but the most important thing is the safety of all tram users and staff.