'Stay off the tracks' - warning issued as testing gets underway on Sheffield to Rotherham tram-train
A rail boss has urged people to stay off the newly-installed tram-train tracks between Sheffield and Rotherham after testing got underway on the new scheme.
The scheme is expected to be fully operational this autumn - almost three years later than planned and around £60 million over budget.
And with testing of the new vehicles on the line between Meadowhall and Parkgate, via Rotherham Central now underway, Vicki Beadle, community safety manager has visited schools in the area to deliver safety messages.
She said: "Many people – and not just children – think that the overhead line only carries electricity when trains, or Tram Trains, are coming through. That’s simply not true. The wires are electrified all the time and these ones carry 750 volts. We don’t want anyone’s life to be irreversibly changed by coming into contact with that so we are making our message clear – the electricity is always on, so stay off the tracks.”
Work is nearing completion, Ms Beadle said, with new low-level platforms now being built at Rotherham Central railway station.
Ms Beadle added: “Regular tram users will be used to crossing directly between platforms, across the tramlines. We need to remind people that this simply isn’t safe on the rail network as a train could be coming through on the other lines and the driver can’t swerve and won’t be able to brake in time. Please remember to use the footbridge if you need to change platforms.”
The project was originally due to be completed in December 2015 at a cost of £15 million but is now expected to be complete this autumn at a cost of around £75.1 million - 400 per cent over its budget.
Driver training is expected to get underway this summer with passengers expected to be able to use the vehicles this autumn.