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Author Topic: City tram-trains trial unveiled in South Yorkshire - Rotherham / Sheffield  (Read 15903 times)
Chris from Nailsea
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« on: September 15, 2009, 11:49:22 pm »

From the BBC:

Quote
Passengers in South Yorkshire could be the first in the UK to use Continental-style tram-trains under plans announced by the Department for Transport (DfT).

A trial of the electric vehicles is planned on a new service linking Rotherham and Sheffield. Once a feasibility study has been completed, the project will take three years and ^24m to get up and running.

Five tram-trains will run on existing freight track from Rotherham and then join the Sheffield Supertram network.

The scheme replaces a previously-announced tram-train trial on the Penistone Line, linking Sheffield and Huddersfield via Barnsley, which would have used diesel-powered vehicles.

That phase of the trial is now due to go ahead at a later date after it was decided that the electric tram-trains were more economically viable.

Rail Minister Chris Mole announced the plans on a visit to Meadowhall in Sheffield, where tram-trains will connect to the city's Supertram network. He said: "Tram-train is a new concept for Britain, but it has already proved a valuable addition to rail fleets on the continent. Adapting tram-train to the UK requires some testing, but while that is under way, people in South Yorkshire will have the chance to experience this new type of vehicle for themselves, and I hope they will tell us what they think of it."

David Brown, director general of the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, said: "If we can overcome the technical challenges then tram-trains would bring huge benefits to the travelling public in South Yorkshire. They would widen the options available to those people travelling between Rotherham and Sheffield and the technology could eventually be used elsewhere in the UK too."

Train operator Northern Rail will buy the new vehicles for the Rotherham-Sheffield operation, while Network Rail is investigating what works would be necessary to safely accommodate the vehicles on the UK network.
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
bemmy
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2009, 10:31:15 am »

How extraordinarily sensible. And they've even realised that electric ones are more viable!!!

One day Bristol could have them as well........ if it wasn't in the westcountry.
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vacman
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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2009, 09:38:16 pm »

Am not familiar with that part of the world, is this sceme basicly re-opening a line that is currently freight only?
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2009, 09:51:25 pm »

Erm ... rather like the Portishead branch, you mean?  Roll Eyes Shocked Grin
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
brompton rail
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2009, 02:53:08 pm »

Am not familiar with that part of the world, is this sceme basicly re-opening a line that is currently freight only?

Sheffield Supertram line (double track) from City Centre to Meadowhall Interchange runs for a distance alongside the freight only Woodburn Junction to Rotherham Central line.  Network Rail are to look at putting in a connection between the 2 lines (perhaps between Arena and Carbrook tramstops), then they would need to electrify the freight line which runs on the south side of the valley from adjacent to Meadowhall South tram stop to Rotherham Central station. Just short of Rotherham Central (i.e. west of station) the single line connection (Holmes Chord) from the main Sheffield to Doncaster line (at Holmes junction) trails into the freight line, indeed the double track freight and single track passenger lines run parallel for perhaps half a mile. This single track connection restricts the number of passenger trains into Rotherham Central to about 3 trains per hour each way (i.e. total 6 movements) - 2 Sheffield - Doncaster stopper and 1 Sheffield - Leeds via Wakefield Westgate stopper.

Therefore by running TramTrain on this Sheffield City Centre - Meadowhall Shopping Centre - Rotherham Central route  the frequency of service can be greatly improved and still allow connection with National Rail services at Rotherham Central. I imagine that either a low level platform extension or perhaps a bay with low platform will need to be built at Rotherham, but I guess this will form part of Network Rail's investigation, as any possible intermediate tram stops might.  I am told that the Sheffield - Meadowhall - Barnsley - Penistone - Huddersfield Tram Train scheme is now Phase 2 and is expected to go ahead. Personally I doubt that it will be during the current franchise period for Northern Rail but who knows the next government may see it as priority. The Huddersfield scheme was a very ambitious experiment as it involved trams on 3 types of railway, each with its own regulations and legal requirements: Sheffield / Meadowhall is high speed mixed railway (TENs is it?), whilst Meadowhall to Barnsley is mostly DMU with rare freights, and onto Huddersfield is a stand alone line with only DMUs which could have been operated on a form of drive on sight perhaps with less rigourous signalling. Finding anyone to supply 5 diesel trams was, according to railway press, difficult, whereas electric trams are easier to source.

Hope this helps relate what is proposed to other lines, like Portishead, or even some branches where diesel trams would be the only choice.
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vacman
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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2009, 09:14:39 pm »

Personally I don't see the point in the Penistone project, why don't hey just spend all that money on some decent DMU's to run on the existing line!
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John R
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« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2009, 09:23:53 pm »

I don't think anyone did. It was a DaFT project, in more ways than one. Spending lots of money lowering platforms and buying a handful of non standard diesel trams to replicate the existing once an hour service.
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2012, 08:06:27 pm »

From the BBC:

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First tram-train gets go-ahead for Sheffield to Rotherham

Tram-trains which run on street tracks and railway lines are to be piloted in South Yorkshire in a scheme worth ^58m, the government has confirmed.

Starting in 2015, the newly-built tram-trains will run on local tram routes and Network Rail lines between Sheffield, Meadowhall and Rotherham.

The two-year pilot scheme will be the first of its kind in the UK. Transport Minister Norman Baker said the pilot would test the concept for a possible wider roll-out across the UK.

Announcing the final go-ahead for the pilot scheme, Mr Baker said it would help to determine the practical and operational issues surrounding the running of tram-trains. "It will also allow us to gauge passenger perception and acceptability of tram-trains," he said.

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive would take the lead in providing the new tram-trains and would sponsor the pilot in collaboration with Network Rail, Northern Rail and Stagecoach Supertram, said Mr Baker.

The ^58m budget would cover the cost of the new vehicles and the necessary changes to infrastructure, he added.

Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council, said passengers would be "extremely pleased" the pilot scheme would take place in South Yorkshire. "We've been waiting for it for a few years. The country needs to do something like this. It will reduce congestion on the roads so it's beneficial to both Sheffield and Rotherham."

The tram-trains are expected to cut journey times and make it easier for people to get into the city centres the vehicles serve.

They are said to be lighter, more energy efficient and have faster acceleration and deceleration than conventional trains.
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
Btline
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2012, 08:21:38 pm »

Am I missing something? Why not just run normal trains on the line?

Yet another route ruined by trams - just like Wolverhampton to Snow Hill. Roll Eyes
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brompton rail
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2012, 09:01:36 pm »

Am I missing something? Why not just run normal trains on the line?

Yet another route ruined by trams - just like Wolverhampton to Snow Hill. Roll Eyes

Not quite as simple as converting a railway line into a tram line.

The Sheffield - Meadowhall - Rotherham Central line is a very busy line and carries freight, Intercity, semi-fast and local trains. There are around 12 trains per hour most of the day, that is 12 each way on double track, between Sheffield and Meadowhall Interchange. Of these 3 each way per hour leave the main line at Holmes Junction for the loop via Rotherham Central. Part of this loop involves a single ladder junction and a stretch of single track.

The tram-train does not use this line, but will use the existing tram line from Sheffield City Centre (not the station) and adjacent to Meadowhall South tram stop a short junction will be made onto the parallel freight line. Tram-trains will then share the existing freight line to just south of Rotherham Central where the existing heavy rail passenger line joins the freight line. From here northwards for about a mile tram-train, dmus and freight trains will use the same track to the tram-train terminus at Parkgate retail park.

Trams will operate 3 times per hour into Sheffield City Centre, dmus will run 3 times per hour between Rotherham, Meadowhall Interchange and Sheffield stations (these trains originate from Doncaster (2) and beyond, or Leeds (1).

Currently Supertram runs 8 times an hour City to Meadowhall Interchange, with Meadowhall South being the first stop into town. Presumably tram-train will be additional to these and give 11 journeys per hour from Meadowhall South into the City. Remember that trams run on line of sight and are only signalled at road crossings etc.

Hope this is helpful.
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Btline
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2012, 10:07:10 pm »

Ok, quite complicated. Thanks for explaining! Cool

I still can't see why they don't just divert passenger trains onto the freight line. Would this bypass the single track?
Or could they double track the existing line?
Sorry - I'm just against tram in general using heavy rail routes.

The XC Sheffield to Doncaster service is so slow. A bit of investment could really speed things up!
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Rhydgaled
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2012, 11:14:30 pm »

Yet another route ruined by trams - just like Wolverhampton to Snow Hill. Roll Eyes
Off-topic, but how frequent are the trams on that section? When various persons have lamented the passing of WSMR, or mentioned providing Shrewsbury with some direct London services, I have wondered whether you could build a chord connecting the Wolverhampton - Snow Hill tram line to the mainline Wolverhampton station and route Chiltern's LHCS trains from Marylebone to Shrewsbury/Wrexham via that route (which would avoid the Wolverhampton - New Street route, which I'm told is full, while still allowing the train to call at Birmingham (Moor Street)). Obviously, that only works if the trams on the section are a lower frequency than Birmingham - Wolverhampton mainline rail services to allow paths for the Marylebone - Shrewsbury/Wrexham services.

And diesel-trams? I'm glad that daft suggestion was put aside.
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eightf48544
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« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2012, 09:15:56 am »

Yet another route ruined by trams - just like Wolverhampton to Snow Hill. Roll Eyes

If the trams just run on heavy rail and share it with DMUs and Freight then you have Karlsruhe, Kassel, Nordhausan (metre gauge) and Saarbrucken type system, with true tram trains.  All you have in effect are trains that run on heavy rail on the outskirts of a town and then run through the town centre on the street on the tram lines. Heavy rail trains use the heavy rail lines as normal.

The only thing that could cause problems is that true tram trains should be dual voltage so that the heavy rail bit would be 25KV AC (162/3 AC in Germany) whilst  the street sections would be 600/700 DC. Unless like Kassel and Nordhausen they are EDs and run on diesel on the normal lines.

It seems much better than the daft idea idea running ED trams on diesel on the Sheffield Penistone Huddersfield line. This way heavy rail still uses the heavy rail track whilst pasengers get the option  of joining a tram into the city centre.

At last our planners might just have realised the potential to provided integrated transport in one vehicle.
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Btline
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« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2012, 11:14:57 am »

Off-topic, but how frequent are the trams on that section?

The trams would have to be axed to make way.
Fine in my opinion - passenger numbers have been very low (no surprise - the train is quicker and the bus is cheaper).
It could be done, removing ATW and LM Shrewsbury from New Street and giving them London services.
Snow Hill would regain platform 4 allowing for a local service on the line.

The existing line could have faster express services taking 15 minutes and the local stopper could be increased to 3 or 4 tph.

Nah - let's use this vital corridor for a pointless tram!
Trams run on the road. That is why they are called trams.

The people of Knutsford in Chesire had their rail service butchered when the mainline to Manchester was switched to trams. Trains are diverted via Stockport (a ridiculous route if you look at a map) and take 20 minutes longer.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2012, 11:32:07 am »

I wonder what effect the New Street extension will have on passenger numbers?  Presumably part of that will have street running?
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