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Author Topic: City tram-trains trial unveiled in South Yorkshire - Rotherham / Sheffield  (Read 15900 times)
swrural
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« Reply #30 on: January 20, 2013, 01:51:59 pm »

The local  Amsterdam facilities include a tram 51 to Amstelveen (a sort of Bradley Stoke outside Amsterdam that insists on keeping its own local authority) which starts from Centraal Station on the Metro which is third rail and shared with conventional trains and then comes off at Zuid onto a roadway central reservation line with OLE.  This is shared with a conventional tram 5 service that uses a segregated platform for the different height of baording. 

I don't know how to do Google Maps / Street View links but if you put in 'Uilenstede station Amstelveen' it will land you right on it.  (Yes it means Owls city!!).   Street View (take a walk along the road) gives an excellent view of a Tram 5 pulling into its portion of the platform.  Unlike other Amsterdam trams, that only have doors one side, number 5 has them both sides, all little quirks that have to be taken into account.

Thinking about Bristol (as I, like FTN, am want to do) I looked up the Bristol tunnels, and the Portishead line was built as broad gauge so the little tunnels may well be high enough.  The Clifton tunnel was built as NG from the start to join the Port and Pier Railway down at the Avon and that latter line was NG'd at the same time.  I don't know whether it is high enough for OLE; I assume so, as nothing has been said about this by NR.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2013, 01:57:15 pm by swrural » Logged
Four Track, Now!
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« Reply #31 on: January 20, 2013, 09:26:51 pm »

Sadly NR and DafT have said that neither Portishead nor the Severn Beach line will be electrified, at least not before the current planned projects are complete. The High Output Plant is not yet built, but its calendar is full, and many are clamouring for their branch line to be included. DafT have quite sensibly signalled that no further additions will be made to its schedule until it has finished the current programme. There will be only one train, with presumably only one crew, electrifying one mile of track per 6-hour possession. That takes us to 2019. After that, it would make the greatest sense to carry on mile by mile until the whole UK network is electric. I reckon the Severn Beach line could be done in three weeks, Portishead in about the same, and Bristol to Penzance in about 6 months. For a metro system, the advantages and efficiencies of electric trains are obvious and have been stated.

On the Portishead line, the floor of the Ham Green to Pill tunnel was lowered by digging it out as part of the project to reopen the goods line. It enjoys W9 loading gauge, and one assumes that the tunnels on that line are high enough to accommodate electrification. The Severn Beach line is limited to W6 gauge, probably because of Montpelier and Clifton Down tunnels. It was double track throughout until late 1970, so presumably has enough height through the centre of the tunnels for electrification of a single line, even if it is accomplished by use of an overhead rail rather than cable. I don't know if it would be possible to re-double the entire line with electrification, but if it can be re-doubled except for the tunnels, that would more than double the current capacity, I reckon. So when we have an electrified double-tracked branch line, then maybe tram-train will come to the line.

All public transport will be powered by electricity one day. It makes sense to put it on rails, to benefit from the reduced friction and from the discrete route. The dirtiest coal-fired power station is cleaner than the cleanest diesel bus or car.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2013, 09:31:59 pm by Four Track, Now! » Logged

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paul7755
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« Reply #32 on: January 20, 2013, 10:55:00 pm »

There may be a number of reasons why every branch line won't be wired, but I very much doubt that the 'full diary' of the high output train will be the main one.  It is just as likely to use normal road rail plant to wire up a typical branch line, as just done on the Paisley Canal branch during 2012...

Paul
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swrural
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« Reply #33 on: January 21, 2013, 02:34:37 pm »

Silly me FTN, not mentioning Montpelier tunnel.  I've walked through that one too!   Roll Eyes

Yes I knew there was no immediate promise to electrify but I see it as inevitable, otherwise the step change in provision will not be achieved.  Actually, on the Clifton line (I prefer that name to Severn Beach line, as the latter does not describe the current raison d'etre so well) partial re-dualling, as FTN points out, is almost certainly more important at present, both for increased frequency and reliability.

To me, an urban local service needs minimum 15 min frequency (turn up and go), and go to where people want to go.  In Bristol that is (now) TM office area, Broadmead (office and shopping) and Centre (office and entertainment).  That is why I think Bristol must have some sort of tram / train implementation as indeed does FTN.  Otherwise all the 4 tracking and so on will not deliver to residents a rail solution for mass transit.

If you live near Clifton Down you will always get a bus down to at least two of the above destinations IMO.  If you live near Sea Mills or Redland, the choice begins to get interesting.  This is because if you could stay sat on one vehicle, the fact it goes a bit round the houses, is less important and convenience more so.

The other thing about local stations, is their proximity to local facilities.  Clifton is smack bang where it needs to be, Montpelier not bad but could make its presence better felt from the A38 Cheltenham Road,  the projected reinstatement of Ashley Hill is near the UWE but needs some form of local shopping to increase footfall.  In fact an extra stop at the actual Ashley Hill overbridge between Montpelier and Stapleton Road should be considered (probably needs lift and /or stairs).

To me, urban planners should be looking at all the locations, of which the above are just examples.   A junction from the relief lines from north of Stapleton Road down to the M32 (take up a lane each way) would enable trams to access the central area quicker.

I've looked at the Sheffield projects carefully and it seems this is exactly the approach Bristol should use.  The irony at Rotherham is that the tram will start its westward journey from their own out-of-town shopping area (Parkgate) and of course it passes the Meadowhall one, also out of town, on the edge of Sheffield.  Apparently, the managers of Parkgate are afraid it will simply extract Rotheram-ites to Meadowhall!

I could see the same nonsense happening with Bristol's  (SGC's?) Cribbs Causeway monstrosity.   Embarrassed 

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onthecushions
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« Reply #34 on: January 21, 2013, 04:41:57 pm »

Not knowing the technical details, but knowing that the Eurostars draw up to 12 MW of power, I'm amazed that they could deal with the 750V system at all.

Normally, the 25kVac supply from the pantograph is transformed down to 1500Vac, rectified and fed to the motor control system (PCM and resistances, thyristor or inverter). On third rail, only 750Vdc is available at best (it can be 590V) and half Volts means quarter power, 3MW instead of 12MW. The Eurostars thus had a balancing speed up the Kentish hills of 44 mph! Even this current was a lot for SE Division substations to cope with.

The Evening Standard did a prophetic cartoon of the Chunnel mouth, with a French TGV meeting a UK Victorian 4-wheel, open topped tram, head on.

South Yorkshire benefits from having parallel Midland and Great Central (MS&L) routes, so might possibly avoid the need for dual voltage locally. Also, the safety record of TPWS has probably made the tram-train possible.

OTC
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« Reply #35 on: January 21, 2013, 05:27:20 pm »



Normally, the 25kVac supply from the pantograph is transformed down to 1500Vac, rectified and fed to the motor control system (PCM and resistances, thyristor or inverter). On third rail, only 750Vdc is available at best (it can be 590V) and half Volts means quarter power, 3MW instead of 12MW. The Eurostars thus had a balancing speed up the Kentish hills of 44 mph! Even this current was a lot for SE Division substations to cope with.

The Evening Standard did a prophetic cartoon of the Chunnel mouth, with a French TGV meeting a UK Victorian 4-wheel, open topped tram, head on.

South Yorkshire benefits from having parallel Midland and Great Central (MS&L) routes, so might possibly avoid the need for dual voltage locally. Also, the safety record of TPWS has probably made the tram-train possible.

OTC

I knew it was bad, but didn't realise it was that bad! As my French neighbour pointed out, you can hurtle through the French countryside at 180 mph before slamming on the brakes as you enter the UK. Good thing we got HS1 sorted eventually,

Actually, on the Clifton line (I prefer that name to Severn Beach line)

Historically correct, too, the line having opened as the Clifton Extension Railway in 1874. It ran as such between Clifton and Mangotsfield for 3 years until the Clifton Down tunnel was completed.

There is another matter that needs to be addressed locally - cost. If you work in the city centre, and live in Severn Beach, you could change to bus at Clifton Down, Montpelier, Stapleton Road, Lawrence Hill, or Temple Meads for the last mile.. The return fare to Clifton Sown from SVB is ^2.00, whereas the bus fare from Clifton to town and back will set you back^4.00, or ^3.50 if you get Plusbus with your rail ticket. That really puts off anyone without a bus pass from doing the journey this way. First Bus should be made to greet passengers with a cry of "Stand and deliver!" until such time as the councils get a proper integrated fare sorted out. I prefer walking, but not everyone can.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2015, 09:59:50 pm by Four Track, Now! » Logged

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swrural
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« Reply #36 on: January 21, 2013, 07:28:40 pm »

Good points.  I looked up my Amsterdam example again and the fast tram runs on 750v DC third rail while it is on the metro and then puts up the pantograph on leaving and picks up 750v DC from the OLE.  I imagine a Bristol fast tram could do more or less the same, 'just' switching to 25kv AC at the TM Hub.  Do any of our experts think that is OK, as all I know about electricity is that it is a dumb way to die to rely on anyone else as to whether the mains is isolated or not when effecting repairs?

That example I gave about people getting out at Clifton to change to bus, is clearly not going to be the case, unless pax are financial masochists, as long as First Bus are involved anyway.  (Is there not a parent company?).   
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #37 on: November 29, 2015, 12:23:37 am »

An update on the original subject - from Rail magazine:

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Final approval given for Sheffield tram-train pilot

The controversial and much delayed British tram-train pilot scheme has taken two major steps forward, with the granting of the Transport and Works Act Order in mid-November and the imminent arrival in the UK of the first Vossloh tram-train from Spain (RAIL 788).

Under the tram-train pilot scheme the new vehicles will operate along the Sheffield Supertram network from the Cathedral stop in the city centre towards Meadowhall, where a 400-metre, ^1.8 million chord is to be constructed linking that line with the freight line through to Rotherham Central station. Tram-trains will terminate at a new stop to be built at Parkgate shopping centre.

It is an approximately 160m section of this Tinsley Chord that was the subject of the TWAO application (RAIL 772). Network Rail made the application on March 13 2015, and it has been granted in the short timespan of just eight months as there was only one objector (National Grid Electricity Transmission plc, over whose land the chord passes). That objection was withdrawn following discussions, so no Public Inquiry was required. The Order includes deemed planning permission.

Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin^s letter approving the application with very minor changes is dated November 12. It was published a few days later, but further objections can still be raised within the following 42 days.

Construction of the chord, which includes 25kV overhead electrification through to Parkgate (so the tram-trains are dual-voltage), is due to start next spring, and the two-year trial should be under way early in 2017.

Assuming it is successful, the tram-trains will then continue to operate as a normal public service. Other UK local authorities are then expected to speedily push for tram-trains to run in their areas.

For more on this, and in-depth feature looking at the scheme, read RAIL 789, published on December 9.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2015, 12:34:52 am by Chris from Nailsea » Logged

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« Reply #38 on: November 29, 2015, 12:54:26 am »

And the first vehicles have arrived ... via the BBC

(There are pictures too)

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The UK's first tram-train has arrived in England on its way to Yorkshire.
The first of seven tram-trains that will use local tram routes and Network Rail lines, arrived in Southampton earlier as part of the scheme, which is a year behind schedule.
Three of the 37m (121ft) vehicles will run an hour, linking Sheffield, Meadowhall and Rotherham from 2017.
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« Reply #39 on: December 11, 2015, 09:55:37 pm »

It's been a while since there was news to report, but the first new vehicle was rolled out of the depot to meet the Minister.

The TV report is here.

Those of us who live in Bristol will watch it and groan. Are we really spending all that money on MetroBust?
« Last Edit: December 11, 2015, 10:00:43 pm by Four Track, Now! » Logged

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« Reply #40 on: February 10, 2017, 04:41:26 pm »

Update ... final one of 7 tram trains 399201 to 399207 delivered last November (2016) and a hope that the service will operate from summer next year (2018).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Rail_Class_399

http://www.rotherhamadvertiser.co.uk/news/view,fresh-doubt-over-58-million-rotherham-tramtrain-project_21523.htm

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FURTHER doubt has been cast over the long-awaited tram-train project through Rotherham after it emerged the would-be operator could pull out.

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) said it was working towards the assumption the £58 million project being operational in the summer of next year - three years later than planned.

But a report to a meeting of the transport committee of Sheffield City Region Combined Authority said contracts signed in 2012 included a “long stop date” of September 15, which allows any partner to walk away if the service is not in operation.

Stagecoach Supertram was reviewing its commercial operating contract with SYPTE and the Department for Transport, the report said.

But Stagecoach and SYPTE both said they remained committed to the scheme and work was continuing.
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« Reply #41 on: February 10, 2017, 06:59:09 pm »

That's better news than I read elsewhere, which was slanted towards Stagecoach actually pulling out of the project, not just being able to if they want.
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« Reply #42 on: September 16, 2017, 05:09:01 am »

From Rail Technology Magazine

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The delay-hit tram-train project has finally reached an important landmark as it launched its first passenger service yesterday.
Rail minister Paul Maynard was in attendance with transport leaders from across Sheffield to introduce the first train onto the Supertram network.
“South Yorkshire’s tram-train project is the first of its kind in the country and will transform services for passengers, enabling quick and easy movement across the region, reducing journey times and boosting the economy,” the minister said. 
“The first passenger service is a significant milestone for this scheme which remains on track to be completed next year and will improve journeys between Sheffield and Rotherham.”
From its inception through to its delivery, the tram-train project was hit by numerous delays. Its launch was pushed back from 2015 to spring 2016 and then January 2017, before a competition date of summer 2018 was finally set in February.
Testing of the trains officially started in April, and construction for the project, including a crucial connection between the light rail and heavy rail network called the Tinsley Chord, was completed a few months ago. The project is a first for the UK as it will allow trains to run on tram and heavy rail tracks.

[continues]

Comment - apparently informed - is not positive

Quote
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why tram-train projects have probably been set back 20 years in the UK.

Mismanagement from start to finish, top to bottom, and a mixture of financial mismanagement and an insanely optimistic original cost projection, which has rendered the business case for many similar proposed projects null and void. And for what exactly? A service no faster than the heavy rail alternative to Midland station, which costs more to use and is not even that much more frequent. The only thing it's got going for it is that... well, it isn't a Pacer!

I will be absolutely astounded if the Tram Train breaks even in the next 30 years, if ever. The original Supertram network has never done so, and Stagecoach's own claims of profitability are skewed by an undisclosed annual subsidy from SYPTE which is rumoured to run to at least 7 figures.

[continues]

and

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"Cutting-edge innovation" my foot. Tram-Trains have been operating successfully in Karlsruhe and Kassel in Germany for several years.

and

Quote
Whilst there is no excuse for making such a hash of this project, it wasn't really necessary to have tram-train at all. There is room along the whole route from Tinsley to Rotherham Central station for two tracks (yes, even under the M1) and in places 3 or 4 . Thus there could have been complete segregation of tram from Network Rail.
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« Reply #43 on: September 16, 2017, 11:54:30 pm »

Don't pull the cork on the shampoo just yet. This doesn't mean that the first tram-train has run from Sheffield to Rotherham, but that the first of the vehicles delivered almost two years ago will for the first time carry passengers on the original Sheffield Supertram routes. I understand that services will be run as "charity specials" tomorrow - no charge, but a charity bucket on each tram, to receive unwanted buttons, foreign coins, and the occasional 20p piece. See here and the embedded PDF if you are thinking of nipping along for a freebie.

The infrastructure is, AIUI, complete for the link between supertram and the national railway. Hopefully, trials on that will start soon.

While the delays to the scheme make Bristol's MetroBust build look speedy, and the costs make it seem more of a white elephant than that beloathed project, the naysayers are missing a couple of things.

Quote
And for what exactly? A service no faster than the heavy rail alternative to Midland station, which costs more to use and is not even that much more frequent. The only thing it's got going for it is that... well, it isn't a Pacer!

The current rail service has about the frequency of the Severn Beach line. The tram-train will run as well as, not instead of, that, and you won't have to pay much to ride to the station from elsewhere on the network.

This is a research and development project, which has included lots of metallurgical studies as well as engineering, which will, if the trial is ultimately a success and the government wills it, inform similar projects elsewhere in Britain.

Quote
"Cutting-edge innovation" my foot. Tram-Trains have been operating successfully in Karlsruhe and Kassel in Germany for several years.[/url]

Had German and British railways and tramways been similar animals, we could have simply copied everything from them. But to some extent, they are chalk and Käse. We are developing a British solution which no doubt draws on German and French experience, but which fits our ways of doing things.

Whilst there is no excuse for making such a hash of this project, it wasn't really necessary to have tram-train at all. There is room along the whole route from Tinsley to Rotherham Central station for two tracks (yes, even under the M1) and in places 3 or 4

I don't know the accuracy of this, although Network Rail has been accused of heel dragging. The point is though that the government wanted to investigate an alternative to laying parallel lines, by using the rather quiet existing PW.

In the meantime, Sheffield's original 25 trams are approaching their silver jubilee. I'm not aware of major reliability issues, which says much for trams against buses of the same age, but Manchester Metrolink retired its original fleet at that age.
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« Reply #44 on: September 17, 2017, 11:17:57 am »

The infrastructure is, AIUI, complete for the link between supertram and the national railway. Hopefully, trials on that will start soon.
They've made rapid progress then since I paced through Rotherham on 142028 and then 142023 on 14th August. Work on the new tram platforms at Rotherham Central looked to me to have only just been started and the OHLE was not complete (some masts were up but no wires that I noticed). One of the new class 399 units for the project was out running (out-of-service) in Sheffield city centre, I think for driver-training purposes.

I don't think Rotherham Central is the planned terminus for the tram train. Although I couldn't see how they were going to string the OHLE through Rotherham Central, there was evidence of works for the tram-train on both sides of that station including what I believe to be the tram-train terminus in an area beyond Rotherham Central which looked like an industrial estate.

It is a shame such a hash has been made of this trial as I think tram-trains would be ideal for Swansea with a line from Mumbles to Neath sharing part of the route with trains to and from Swansea Docks and possibly a later phase sharing the Gowerton-Llanelli section.
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