Sheffield trams: 9 places city's tram network could be extended to if city gets share of promised £4bn

Sheffield was promised a big funding boost, including money for trams, when the northern leg of HS2 was cancelled

Sheffield's tram network is today a shadow of what it used to be back in its heyday.

But hopes of a return to the glory days, when it extended across the city to destinations including Firth Park, Handsworth, Intake, Meadowhead, Fulwood, Walkley and Crookes, were raised when the Government promised a huge funding boost for local transport projects in the north.

When Rishi Sunak confirmed in October that HS2 would only run as far as Birmingham, he vowed to spend the £36 billion savings improving local connections across the north.

That promised Network North investment included nearly £4bn for the six northern city regions, including Sheffield, to improve connectivity, which the Prime Minister said could pay for Sheffield tram extensions among other things. Whether that money will ever come Sheffield's way, and whether it will be enough for a major upgrade to the city's existing tram network, remains to be seen.

But it's hard not to dream of what could be, and that's just what people in Sheffield have been doing.

A popular thread on Reddit began with someone proposing a new tram line from Sheffield city centre to Totley and more suggestions soon flowed, along with the odd reality check.

Two of the most popular and realistic calls were for extensions to Stocksbridge in the north-west and to Totley in the south-west.

Given the Prime Minister has already committed to funding the restoration of passenger services on the existing Don Valley railway line, a tram to those parts may not be necessary, though a tram train service may prove a cheaper option.

There have also long been calls to reopen the closed stations between Sheffield Midland station and Dore and Totley. Again, a tram train running on the existing tracks could be a cheaper option, capacity allowing, with the potential for stops at the old Heeley station and Millhouses Park, among other locations.

Several people said that if the tram network is extended, connecting it to the Northern General Royal Hallamshire and Sheffield Children's hospitals should be the priority.

Others pointed out that back in 2019, Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts had called for tram-trains to run to Beighton and Doncaster Sheffield Airport, as well as Stocksbridge, along existing tracks, something he said could be done relatively quickly.

The closure of Doncaster Sheffield Airport means that is off the cards for now, though it could help if efforts to reopen the airport succeed, but there was support for a new route to Beighton, which could use the existing stations at Darnall and Woodhouse, and include a new stop in Handsworth.

A new service to Wales Bar, in Rotherham, serving Gulliver's Valley, was also suggested, as was extending the Herdings tram route to serve Norton, St James Retail Park, Lowedges, Greenhill, Bradway and Totley, though it was acknowledged the existing roads lack the space to accommodate such a scheme.

And restoring trams along Ecclesall Road, where they used to run many moons ago, was another option put forward, with one person saying it was 'strange' such a 'buzzing' area was not already on the network.

Whatever money the Government does send the north's way, people agreed Sheffield should be ahead of Manchester in the pecking order given its trans-Pennine neighbour already has the UK's longest tram network, stretching across almost 103km of track, compared to 29km in Sheffield.

It wasn't just tram extensions which were suggested, with an underground system, a monorail or even travelators like they have in other European cities to help folk negotiate Sheffield's many hills were among the more leftfield proposals. Sheffield's tram network was last extended in 2018, with the launch of the tram-train to Rotherham.

When it comes to further additions, for now we must make do with the new stop at Magna Science Adventure Centre which is scheduled to open in 2024.

South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority said it was still working on its plans for the tram network and any proposals would have to go to the authority's board once written.

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