The government has confirmed that tram-trains which can run on both railway lines and street tracks are going to be given a trial in South Yorkshire in a scheme valued at almost £60million. Norman Baker, the transport minister, has told Parliament of his final approval given for the trial project. The scheme will see tram-trains running through Rotherham, Meadowhall and Sheffield.
The service is due to start in 2015, with the tram-trains running on Network Rail lines and local tram routes in Sheffield, providing continuous service between locations. Mr Baker said the trial was designed to test whether the concept would be possible for a wider area.
In a statement written to Parliament, Mr Baker said that the trial will test the practicality of the scheme and any operational issues there would be in an extension to the plan. It also allows surveys into passenger perception and acceptability.
He confirmed that the scheme would be running from 2015, introducing continuous travel from Sheffield’s existing Supertram network directly on to the national rail network. The pilot scheme will be trialed for two years, with the budget of £58 million covering costs of infrastructure changes and the cost of new vehicles.