Consultation launched for Sheffield tram-train Tinsley Chord

Plans for the tram-train trial which will link Sheffield and Rotherham are progressing although hopes that it would be up and running by spring 2016 have now been dashed with no new start date announced. In order for tram-trains to run between Supertram and Network Rail metals a short section of track will need to be constructed to link the two and Network Rail and recently started a consultation into this 150 metre stretch of line.

Over two days at the start of February a public exhibition was held at The Source Skills Academy (next to Meadowhall South Supertram stop) showing the plans and asking for comments about the work. The tram-train project will eventually see services run between Cathedral in Sheffield City Centre and Rotherham Parkgate using a fleet of seven vehicles (four will be needed for the service with the other three being available to increase capacity on the rest of the Supertram network) currently being constructed by Vossloh at their Albuixech near Valencia in Spain. The first of these is due to be delivered this September and after commissioning is likely to run on the existing network ahead of the tram-train line opening.

As well as the new vehicles Network Rail will need to build 150 metres of new track at Tinsley (to be known as the Tinsley Chord). This will link the Network Rail and Supertram lines and will leave the current Supertram network just beyond the Meadowhall South stop. Network Rail have started this consultation as they need to apply for the powers to build the line, which is more than likely a major reason for the delay in the start of the service.

Full details of the plans and how to make your views known can be found at https://consultations.networkrail.co.uk/tinsley-chord/tinsley-chord.

113 approaches Meadowhall South with a Purple route service. The new Tinsley Chord would leave the line just beyond the tram. (Photo by Stuart Cooke, 6th February 2015)

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4 Responses to Consultation launched for Sheffield tram-train Tinsley Chord

  1. Chris Mitchell says:

    I’m curious to know how this will work with low floor trams in the UK

    Presumably, moving frogs will have to be used on all points and crossovers to accommodate the different wheel profiles but when a goods train comes through a tram stop the British public would normally expect most of its moving parts to be below platform level. At tram stops, with platforms about 10 inches above the rail, people are used to stepping down and walking across the tracks to the other platform, safe in the knowledge that any tram that comes through will stop anyway. Continentals are used to having lower platforms at railway stations and are more tram savvy than the Brits.

    The tram stops could be located to one side of the main line with points to divert them over but it would lead to a heavier infrastructure.

    Horns and tannoy announcements can always be used but we have the tendency to go OTT with elf and safety.

    I really want to see this work asap and hope that similar schemes can be used elsewhere but with all of the second generation tram systems in the UK, no attempt has been made to standardize on vehicles or infrastructure for the good of all.

  2. David Edwards says:

    We might have something running by 2025

  3. John Gilbert says:

    Having seen plans for the Tinsley chord in other magazines, I have to say that I am very disappointed. The chord is to switch from one line to the other by two very sharp curves. Why on earth couldn’t this have been more streamlined so that speed is not sacrificed unnecessarily. A severe lack of imagination I fear!

  4. Nigel Pennick says:

    We are used to snail’s-pace progress on transport infrastructure in the UK, with consultations dragged out over months and years as though the projects are not real, but planning exercises for students. The planned Ordsall Chord on the Manchester railways and the dragged-out trolleybus consultations in Leeds in the hope of operation sometime in 2020 (after the tram scheme was scrapped with no “plan B”) are just two examples of this terminal inability to get the show on the road.

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