TESTING of the UK’s first tram-train vehicles has been taking place on South Yorkshire's Supertram system, in preparation for passenger services starting in 2018.
The pilot will provide a direct transport connection from Sheffield city centre to Rotherham Central and Parkgate, travelling on both tram lines and the national rail network.
Initial testing and mileage accumulation of the seven Citylink Tram Train vehicles delivered and commissioned for the scheme was underway this week on the Sheffield network.
South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive’s (SYPTE) executive director, Stephen Edwards, said: “People in Sheffield will start seeing the new vehicles running ‘out of service’ in-between scheduled trams.
“This important testing is making sure the vehicles and the existing Supertram system are working as they should.
“Driver training will commence shortly and we aim to put the Citylink vehicles into service to supplement Supertram services from this summer.
“The vehicles will then be tested on the heavy rail network early next year, before going into tram-train passenger service.”
Learning from South Yorkshire’s pilot scheme will help the rail industry assess if Tram Train technology could be used elsewhere, SYPTE said.
A new section of track called the Tinsley Chord will be built to link the tram system to the rail line between Sheffield and Rotherham, new tram-train platforms will be built at Rotherham Central and Parkgate, and the network will be electrified.