Tram trains expanding across UK after success of Sheffield pilot
South Yorkshire’s Tram Train service will be used as a blueprint for future UK transport schemes, as a two-year pilot to test pioneering technology comes to an end.
Travelling on tramlines in Sheffield and the rail network in Rotherham, the service has taken on 1.5 million passenger journeys, and celebrated a 100% satisfaction rate, since its launch in October 2018.
The scheme’s success has driven a commitment for Tram Train to continue to run in South Yorkshire beyond the end of the pilot.
Rail Minister Chris Heaton Harris, said: “The South Yorkshire Tram Train is a flagship scheme that has transformed public transport connections in the region and could act as inspiration for similar schemes elsewhere.
“The £125m invested by the Department for Transport has resulted in millions of passengers using the new network, helping unlock our economy and better connect communities.”
Over ten transport authorities, including Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Cardiff, are seeking to create their own Tram Train service, following the success of the South Yorkshire scheme, which was funded by the Department for Transport and delivered by South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), Network Rail and Stagecoach Supertram.
SYPTE Executive Director, Stephen Edwards, said: “South Yorkshire’s Tram Train pilot - the first of its kind in the country – has demonstrated that this innovative technology has real potential to provide an additional transport option for UK urban areas. Bringing with it many benefits to local residents, businesses and communities, such as new direct connections, reduced congestion and improved air quality.
“Our region is leading the way for Tram Train learning and application in the industry. We’re proud to have delivered this important pilot locally, and to be part of the future opportunities the pioneering technology could provide - creating solid foundations for further Tram Train service and infrastructure development, both for our region and beyond.”
Ambitions have been set to extend Tram Train to other parts of South Yorkshire giving access to thousands along existing railway lines, including into Barnsley Dearne Valley, Waverly, Doncaster and Doncaster Sheffield Airport.
Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said: “Our region is a cradle of innovation and creativity and we're proud to have pioneered the UK’s first Tram Train connecting Sheffield and Rotherham.
“Across South Yorkshire we are building a transport system that is fit for the 21st century. To do this, we need to the Government to back our £400 million tram renewal programme. This would help us extend Tram Train to other parts of the region and unlock a stronger, greener, fairer South Yorkshire."
Plans in the region‘s Transforming Cities Fund scheme and Integrated Rail Plan for Tram Train also include a permanent 300-space park and ride at Parkgate in Rotherham and a new station and park and ride at Magna.
Tim Bilby, Managing Director of Stagecoach Supertram, said: “We are extremely proud to have helped lead the way in this award-winning and innovative trial, which will be used to develop other similar schemes round the country. Most crucially, this will support the development of further public transport connections which are critical to the country’s green recovery.
“From its launch, passenger numbers and customer satisfaction have exceeded expectations, proving that Tram Train offers an affordable and efficient way to connect Sheffield City Centre and Rotherham.”