Supertram expansion: Where new routes should run - and the problems it could face

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We asked readers what they thought, and hundreds responded

Supertram is popular, back under public control and primed for expansion, says the mayor of South Yorkshire - but where to?

Oliver Coppard is exploring routes to Stocksbridge and Chesterfield ‘with potential for more, such as connecting to hospitals’.

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A tram-train, left, and a tram at Cathedral tram stop. The mayor is seeking views on where to extend the network to.A tram-train, left, and a tram at Cathedral tram stop. The mayor is seeking views on where to extend the network to.
A tram-train, left, and a tram at Cathedral tram stop. The mayor is seeking views on where to extend the network to. | national world

So we asked readers what they thought, and well over 500 responded with a mix of serious, cynical and silly suggestions.

Supertram offers a smooth running, swift service but on a limited network, certainly compared to the old days - or not so old, the last trams were only removed in 1960.

But laying new track is frighteningly expensive and hugely disruptive. Those with a long memory remember a near revolt in Hillsborough as Supertram construction works dragged on. And Mr Coppard himself has cautioned that a new track to the Northern General Hospital could cost £500m, making it, sadly, highly unlikely, ever.

Despite that, this is what readers think:

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Jane Ibbotson echoed many when she said: “Hospitals of course, which would have made sense in the first place, such rubbish planning right from the start. Even now after all these years of Supertram I still can't get my head around it!”

Stuart Burton agreed: “To the hospitals - parking is a nightmare at both - especially the Northern General.”

Others suggested Stocksbridge for three reasons. An existing goods train line links the town with the city centre and could be used by tram-trains. The bus service isn’t very good, according to some and there are lots of developments taking place en-route, including hundreds of homes on the former Oughtibridge Paper Mill site.

Helen Grant said: “Stocksbridge definitely. We desperately need more transport links. There's a lot of new stuff being built here and between here and Hillsborough and the area is being invested in so it would make sense.”

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Emma Green added: “Stocksbridge, we need something. It’s only got three buses and only two go to Sheffield town centre.”

Others were more ambitious, several suggested Doncaster Airport, which is 24 miles away - and currently closed.

Julie Doubleday suggested a big loop: “Up the Penistone Road to Grenoside, Burncross and High Green, with a loop round Chapeltown and Ecclesfield then back on to the Penistone Road.”

But Philip Levick focused on the disruption.

“You can’t imagine how much work was done before a tram track was even laid. All utilities had to be diverted or renewed so there would be no interference to the tramlines once they were in place.”

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Julie Marshall agreed: “It's too much disruption. I remember the chaos it caused in 90's. It would be worse now.”

A tram-train in Sheffield city centre.A tram-train in Sheffield city centre.
A tram-train in Sheffield city centre. | NATIONAL world

Sean Green had a suggestion: “Many years ago my gran said to me that they should just have overhead cables and run trolley buses. A lot easier to install and extend.” Matt Abbott led the cynics: “Got to keep having these surveys so the council can decide how to waste our money.”

Patrick Byrne: “Three other boroughs paid for something they never got, sorry, my bad, it got to Parkgate and what a carry on that turned out to be.”

Jon Holding led the jokers: “Leeds or Manchester so we could get to some decent shops.”

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And Martin Horton proved brevity is the soul of wit, saying simply: “Spain.”

South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority is canvassing views on how the Supertram can be improved and where it should prioritise expansion. A survey is open until April 30.

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