Tram-Train is on the way

The very first Tram-Train for the UK is on its way to Sheffield having left Spain this week – with arrival expected in South Yorkshire on 1st December (it’s obviously taking the long route!). Built by Vossoloh seven of the vehicles are on order with four required for the Tram-Train service to Rotherham with the others due to increase capacity on the current Supertram network.

The first vehicle left the Valencia works of Vossoloh and will travel across Spain to Santander where it will be loaded onto a ferry making the trip across to Southampton Docks. From here it will head on the road again – including the M1 – arriving in Sheffield at the start of next month. Photos released of the tram-train show that it is currently in plain blue with yellow doors and presumably once it has arrived in Sheffield it will have the remainder of its livery added.

As has been reported previously on British Trams Online the Tram-Train pilot will see a connection built between the Supertram system and Network Rail metals close to Meadowhall South. The project has seen delays and is now expected to start operation in 2017.

As well as the connection between the two existing lines (the construction of which was approved by the DfT earlier this month) other work which is required before trams can run through to Rotherham Parkgate includes the electrification of the railway line and the building of new platforms at both Rotherham Central and Parkgate.

When the pilot is launched – for a minimum period of two years – three trams an hour will run between Cathedral and Parkgate with an expected journey time of 25 minutes.

Once the tram-trains arrive in Sheffield they will undergo the usual comprehensive commissioning and mileage accumulation as seen on all new tram fleets across the UK. Three of the vehicles are due to enter service in summer 2016 on the existing network.

Steve Edwards, SYPTE Executive Director, said: “Tram Train is a first for the UK. The design and planning to make Tram Trains run is a complex operation and we’re delighted this important milestone brings us one step closer to making the scheme a reality. Tram Train will demonstrate the potential, both locally and nationally, of this new technology to deliver value for money services. It will provide a boost to the regional economy, thanks to improved connections across the region. And, if the pilot is successful, it opens the way for Tram Trains to be introduced in other parts of the country.”

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15 Responses to Tram-Train is on the way

  1. Christopher Callan says:

    Its a interesting scheme which has deserves to do well. The capacity increase on the existing network during and after construction of the tram-train link. With Blackpool also progressing with their own extension with construction timeframes due in the near future id hope the two additional light rail vehicles could be brought online prior to opening if possible. With over 827,000 using the tramway in October alone additional fully dda capacity will no doubt be very welcome.

    • Nathan says:

      Bought online? I’ve never seen any sparkling new LRVs on Amazon. I wonder what the postage and packing prices are like? Anyway, I thought the only trams you could buy on the internet are neglected Centenaries 😉

      (This post is intended to be humorous, by the way)

  2. Cliff Beeton says:

    Will these Tram Trains have to have yellow ends when working on BR lines to Rotherham?

    • Christopher Callan says:

      No. Legislative requirements change next year. They are fitted with the high intensity lights though. Presumably like full beam can be dipped when in street sections

      • John Stewart says:

        I understand that compulsory yellow ends were quietly dropped a few years ago but on condition that a high-intensity light was used. Rather than have trains immobile because of a failed bulb the railway operators kept the yellow ends.

        • Ken Walker says:

          If the main headlight on the front of a train fails the train is restricted to 20mph whether daytime or nighttime, until the headlamp is repaired or a portable headlight is fitted, in the case of the latter I think the maximum speed is 70 or 75mph

  3. Clem Fallows says:

    Interesting that this tram is going to Southampton when the car ferry service is Santander to Portsmouth

    • Kev says:

      Remember the size of the load! There may be an issue loading/unloading – or its a typo!

      • Gareth Prior says:

        If its a typo its a Stagecoach typo! At least some of the Nottingham trams came in from Spain to Southampton as well so I would imagine it is a freight boat and not a passenger ferry.

  4. Nigel Pennick says:

    It’s good to know that at last the first vehicle is to arrive soon. But surely it should be put into service long before next summer, as Sheffield’s timetable is short of a tram since the collision. It’s not really a tram-train, as it is a single unit, but a tram whose wheel standards and electric system are compatible with mainline track and catenary. In the past, tram trains meant at least two vehicles towed behind a motor, or 3- car units in multiple. Being numbered in the TOPS system, and not numbered on from the current fleet will make these trams the highest-numbered in the history of British tramways.

    • Peter says:

      Sorry to contridict, but over here in Mainland Europe, a tram-train has always been a single unit of mulitple sections similar to a pure tram or similar to the railcar units many have replaced. This is certainly the case in Germany and France . On many systems, such as the Saarbahn system in Saarbrucken (which by the way is one of the few international tram-trains as it passes the French border), the units can be coupled into mulitple units at times of heavy useage.

      • Chris Mitchell says:

        The wheel profiles have to be tram-standard to run on tram track but they will have to use moving frogs on all points on the railway line and, presumably, sprung points will not be possible. Moving frogs are used on the Docklands system but I think that is to reduce noise and vibration around the office blocks. Is this true for mainland Europe?

  5. Kev says:

    many European tram Trains are single vehicles. It can’t run before next summer because it won’t have undergone the required testing and mileage accumulation. Don’t forget how new this is to Britain. They key being Britain where everything takes longer.

  6. John Gilbert says:

    It would be good if the connection between the Meadowhall line and Network Rail en route to Rotherham DID NOT require the tram-train to grind around what look like two ninety-degree bends? Putting the junction a little further back towards the city would see the two lines closer together and therefore a much more gentle and not speed-restricted link could be constructed at that point. Why on earth two 90degree bends!!!

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