It has been confirmed that the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) and Stagecoach Supertram are to jointly fund the major programme of tram rail replacement works which are needed to protect the future of the Supertram network. The works are due to take place over the next five years at an estimated cost of £32 million with the first work due to commence this summer.
The SYPTE will fund the track renewal work with Stagecoach Supertram contributing to the infrastructure work, cover any reduced passenger revenue associated with the temporary service disruption and will fund the extra resources required to deliver the replacement bus service during the work. The SYPTE are still waiting to hear back from the Department for Transport regarding their bid for £5 million from the Local Transport Pinch Point Fund.
The first phase of works are due to commence in late June/early July with the track between Spring Lane and Park Grange Croft stops (on the blue/purple lines) being replaced. This track replacement is due to take approximately 12 weeks to complete and during this time a replacement bus service will be used to ensure minimal disruption for passengers. At this stage it is unclear whether trams will be able to run to Halfway from Spring Lane or whether the replacement bus will run all the way between Park Grange Croft and Halfway.
David Young, SYPTE Deputy Interim Director General and Director of Customer Experience, said: “When the tram system was installed in 1994, it was widely expected at the time that the rail would have a 30-year lifespan. However, over the past two years, it has become clear that this replacement work needs to be carried out sooner rather than later to ensure the people of Sheffield, and the wider region, have a robust and reliable tram network in the future.”
Large sections of the rail on the network are now said to be close to being life expired despite measures taken by Supertram engineers which have extended the lifetime of the track by as many as five years. It is believed up to 22km of track needs replacing by 2024.
During the first phase of work a special tram only weekly megarider ticket will be introduced. This ticket will cost £11.50 and will be available to buy on board tram services and will also be valid on the replacement bus services.