Britain’s first continental style “tram train” network has been approved by the Government with the service beginning in 2015. The £58 million scheme in South Yorkshire, will see a specially modified tram running on a five-mile stretch of lightly used rail track before linking up with Sheffield’s existing tram network.
Already popular on the continent, South Yorkshire’s project It is likely to be the first of a number of similar schemes in major cities across the country, with Greater Manchester and the West Midlands potential candidates.
The technology uses a modified tram which runs both on its own track as well as conventional railway lines. Electric power is provided by overhead lines.
Tram-trains offer a number of advantages. They lose less fuel, are cheaper to operate and, because they accelerate and decelerate faster than conventional trains, provide faster journey times.
Lighter than conventional trains they cause less wear and tear to conventional railway track. They are seen as offering seamless travel from the suburbs to the city centre, including rail passengers who in the past have driven to the station.