The final route testing phase for the UK’s tram-train pilot began on 5 June, with the first Stagecoach Supertram Citylink tram-train (399.202) running to Rotherham Parkgate. Line speed testing of the 12km (7.5-mile) route is set to begin in the week commencing 11 June, with the long-awaited opening to follow later in the summer.
This significant milestone follows trials earlier in May on the national railway network for the first time and completion on 21-22 April of the installation of 750V dc overhead on the Tinsley Chord, the 160m section of track built to link the Supertram network with Network Rail’s freight line.
Launched in 2009, the scheme is intended as a pilot project for the UK, with other cities following its progress as they look to further implement of the mode. Approximately GBP60m (EUR68m) has been invested in the project; a collaborative effort between the UK Department for Transport, Network Rail (leading on infrastructure construction and development of technical standards), the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and Stagecoach Supertram (responsible for operational development and ongoing service provision).
When the line opens later this year, passengers will be able to board at Cathedral tramstop in central Sheffield and travel to Parkgate shopping centre via Rotherham Central station. Three services will be offered per hour, seven days a week, with a 25-minute travel time. Three tram-trains, with one in reserve, are required for this timetable.