A deal to bring the UK’s first Tram-Train service to South Yorkshire has been signed off by the Transport Minister.
Norman Baker MP confirmed the £60 million pilot scheme will see carriages running on the existing Supertram lines and the national rail network between Sheffield city centre and Rotherham Parkgate when it starts operating in early 2016.
The Government funded service should create 35 new jobs as well as provide a boost to the local economy and, if successful, could be repeated in other cities across the UK.
It also raises the possibility in Sheffield of the dual voltage vehicles, built by German manufacturer Vossloh, being used on heavy rail routes along the Upper Don Valley to Stocksbridge and Deepcar and along the Sheaf Valley to Millhouses and Dore.
Mr Baker was in Sheffield yesterday to sign the contract - and formally open a 130-space park-and-ride next to Dore and Totley Rail station, designed to ease parking congestion on surrounding roads.
He said: “Providing better connections between the heart of Sheffield and Rotherham’s city centres and residential areas will help to reinvigorate the local economy. It will also encourage people to leave their cars at home.
“Tram-Trains are an innovative and high-capacity transport system which have proved very successful in other European cities.
“We will be monitoring the scheme over the next two years and I look forward to seeing if it would be appropriate to replicate it elsewhere in the UK.”
Coun Mick Jameson, Chair of the South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority, said: “Today’s signing is further welcome investment by Government in the transport infrastructure of South Yorkshire.”