Tram-train pilot delayed to 2018?

The much delayed Tram-Train pilot which will eventually see services running between Sheffield City Centre and Rotherham Parkgate has been delayed even further with the BBC reporting that the first public services will not operate until Summer 2018. This will be some three years after it had originally been hoped that services would run and means that the extra time Network Rail needed from the last opening date announcement (early 2017) will amount to 18 months.

As we have reported before on these pages the Tram-Train plot will see the new vehicles – all now constructed and delivered to Sheffield – travel from the current Stagecoach Supertram network to Rotherham Parkgate joining Network Rail metals close to the Meadowhall South stop. Seven new vehicles have been ordered from Stadler (originally Vossoloh) to help form this service (which included three to help increase capacity on the rest of Supertram) and these are all now in Sheffield where the first stages of commissioning and testing have taken place.

No official announcement of Summer 2018 has been made yet with a South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive statement saying: “Network Rail, in discussion with the Department for Transport, is in the process of completing a thorough review of the current programme of works needed to adapt infrastructure to operate tram-train vehicles between Meadowhall South and Rotherham Parkgate. SYPTE hopes to receive confirmation on the rescheduled programme and an expected passenger service start date from Network Rail before the end of the year.”

One glimmer of hope from SYPTE is that they have confirmed that the first of Tram-Train vehicles will be used on the current Supertram network from Spring 2017; although obviously before this happens there will have to be a significant increase in testing of the fleet which seems to have also been much delayed.

There can be no doubt that the continued delays to this project are a major disappointment but hopefully when the official announcement is finally made by Network Rail – who seem to have been struggling with their side of the project for some time – there will at least be some clarity. And who knows the next date may actually be met?

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9 Responses to Tram-train pilot delayed to 2018?

  1. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    Network Rail need a kick up the backside. Do they really want this project to work I wonder? They need to show some enthusiasm. What a waste with all these Tram Trains lying idle. What a waste of money. Time they stopped pratting about and get on with it. I just think the whole situation is disgusting.

  2. Geoffrey Ryder says:

    I agree. I am convinced that Network Rail and the Rail Unions do not want ANY tram train project to succeed in the Uk. They want the Rail network to continue to operate geriatric rolling stock on all provincial branch railways using outmoded operating methods which originate in Victorian England. Very many branch railways would be better operated as light railways extended into areas where the local populations actually live. Network Rail is an old fashioned organisation which is not fit for purpose. Even the government is concerned.

  3. Tony Stevenson says:

    I agree 100% with the last two comments The Department for Transport should step in and sort it.

  4. Ken Walker says:

    I would imagine the problem is the same one that has caused project slippage of budget exceedances on the railway electrification projects. Lack of experienced staff due to government policies which have led to staff cuts and long-term experienced staff throwing in the towel, which seems to happen wherever the dead hand of government interferes.

  5. Steve says:

    Pity we cannot send for the Germans to handle it- after all they have been operating it for years.

  6. Franklyn says:

    Network rail are completely useless. What exactly is the problem now? I’d love to hear a detailed technical explanation of the excuses.

    Heavy rail vehicles (mainly coal trucks) operated on the tramways of Glasgow and Blackpool in the early 20th century without any problem. This obviously must have involved exchange sidings where both types of vehicles could run. So what’s the problem now? Too many over-paid paper-pushers dragging their job out as long as possible is my guess.

    It’s pointless delays for a pointless project though. Why can’t people just change at Meadowhall if they want to go to Rotherham? Either catch a bus or a train as both already exist. The real problem is the lazyness of the British public that they can’t be bothered to use interchanges, which is why our public transport is so inefficient. The new trams should all go into service on the current network and forget about tram train, sacking all the buffoons involved in the process! How much is this costing me as a tax payer?

  7. Clifford Stead says:

    Here Here to all of the above! You can see how the bill for the Great Western electrification went from £800 million to several billion! Too many consultants sticking their awe in. These tram trains should just be used on the normal network as soon as possible.

  8. Ken Walker says:

    Tram-train project aside 3 of these vehicles were supposed to be to support the existing network, why are they not being tested on the system and being brought into traffic?
    But it is unbelievable that this country is so backward that systems that have been proved to work in numerous foreign countries/locations have to be tested afresh over here because we are ‘different’.

  9. Cliff Beeton says:

    No doubt all the top Network Rail elite will receive their “Bonus” payments this year despite this cock up and the farce over the Great western and Midland Mainline electrification projects.
    These elitist nobodies have closed a local foot crossing at Stone,has been open since the year dot and nobody has ever been killed!

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