THE UK’s first tram-train operation is now carrying fare-paying passengers – a decade after it was first mooted and many millions of pounds over its original budget.
However, the excitement of the opening day was short-lived after one of the dedicated Class 399s (No. 399204) was derailed and damaged in a collision with a lorry a few hours after the launch on a crossing at Attercliffe.
Transport Minister Jo Johnson joined Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis, local stakeholders, media and Network Rail management on the final ‘shadow-running’ trip from Rotherham Parkgate to the Cathedral stop in Sheffield city centre early on October 24.
The first public tram from Cathedral to Parkgate then operated at 09.39, heralding the long-awaited start of the 20-minute interval service.
The operation utilises Supertram infrastructure between Cathedral and Meadowhall South, nestled below the M1’s Tinsley Viaduct, where a new chord has been constructed to Network Rail’s Woodburn Junction to Rotherham Central freight line (formerly part of the Great Central Railway route from Sheffield Victoria to Doncaster).
Tram-trains then share NR tracks with freight and Northern passenger trains as far as Parkgate retail park on the outskirts of Rotherham. Total journey time is 27 minutes.
Seven Class 399/2 three-section tram-train vehicles have been built by Stadler Valencia for the service, although only Nos. 399201-204 have the correct wheelsets to operate on both networks.
Read more in the November issue of The RM – on sale now!