SOUTH Yorkshire commuters are to benefit from a major Government announcement - with £58 million of funding set to be granted for a unique new tram-train service between Sheffield and Rotherham.
The county will be the first area in Britain where the vehicles will run - and the trial scheme here could result in similar projects in other cities.
Tram-trains are set to be launched in 2015 and will run every 20 minutes from Sheffield Cathedral.
Carriages will use the Supertram line between the city centre and Meadowhall before switching to an adjoining railway line into Rotherham.
Services will call at Rotherham Central station before terminating at a new station next to Parkgate Retail World.
Sheffield has been chosen for the trial after lobbying from Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and as part of efforts to develop the Don Valley as a new Enterprise Zone to attract new businesses and create jobs.
Confirmation of the funding is due to be made today, in a statement to the House of Commons by Transport Minister Norman Baker.
Suzanne Liversidge, president of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said the project would be ‘great news’.
She said: “Investment in our infrastructure and resources can only be a good thing. If the scheme proves to be effective in the Enterprise Zone in terms of helping businesses, it will be all the better for the city region.”
Sheffield Council chief executive, John Mothersole, said: “This is one of a series of positive anouncements for Sheffield in recentweeks.”
Sheffield Council leader Coun Julie Dore also welcomed the news. She said: “It will be environmentally friendly and help reduce congestion.”