PASSENGER announcement – the Tram Train has finally arrived into Rotherham.
The doors of the UK’s first Tram Train opened this morning and after four weeks of “ghost runs” the seats will today be filled with travellers.
The £75 million project stalled several times along its long road to completion – it’s now three years late and four times over budget – but bosses insist it was all a learning curve
Simon Coulthard, senior sponsor for Network Rail, said the cost and extra time was down to “complexities”.
“Some of the biggest challenges were around innovation and designing the whole infrastructure between tramway and railway,” said Mr Coulthard.
Tram Train passengers can now board at a brand new Parkgate Shopping stop (see video below), located behind the Boots store, and two minutes later will arrive into Rotherham railway station.
The Tram Train then heads towards the already established Meadowhall South/Tinsley stop – and this is where the magic happens! During a short stop under the Tinsley Viaduct, the Tram Train manoeuvres back onto the tramtracks once the all clear has been given by the control room to re-join the tram system.
The journey then follows the Supertram’s yellow route which takes in Carbrook for Ikea, Valley Centertainment, Sheffield Arena and terminates at Sheffield Cathedral.
This is the first time the Supertram network has been expanded since its opening in 1994.
The project had been labelled a “how not to seminar “ by MPs on a Public Accounts Committee – a view Mr Coulthard said he respected, adding: “It’s a pilot, it’s about something innovative and we are learning from it.
“We have always been clear about the reasons why costs have increased, we’ve always apologised for our part in that.
“I find the support for this scheme has never wavered, I have been on this project since it started – we have never lacked support. If anything it’s the frustration we have shared – it's not been as quick but I’ve never heard anyone say it should not have happen or it’s a waste of money.”
Mr Coulthard said he was “excited” for the launch and wanted to thank the people of Rotherham and Sheffield for their patience while they “designed, built and brought the system into service”.
More information can be found here https://www.stagecoachbus.com/supertram/tram-train
For more on this story see this week's Advertiser.
Experience a virtual ride on the Tram Train here, and read why rail minister Jo Johnson reckons it will be a hit.