THE UK's dramatically over-running first tram-train will officially welcome on board its first passengers within weeks — almost three years late.
Tram Train partners Stagecoach Supertram, Network Rail and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) have announced the first services between Rotherham and Sheffield will begin on October 25.
The £75 million link — which has cost five times as much as first budgeted — will be the first in its kind in country and involve a special tram vehicle, designed to run on both tramlines and the rail network.
Three tram-trains an hour will travel on the Supertram network from Sheffield Cathedral to Meadowhall South, before proceeding over a new section of track linking the tram line to the rail track called the Tinsley Chord, and on to the national rail network to Parkgate Shopping via Rotherham Central station.
Tram Train project board member Steve Davenport, of SYPTE, said: “We are thrilled, to introduce tram-train services on South Yorkshire’s transport network later this month.
“The pioneering pilot has the ability to transform travel both locally and nationally.
“Connecting the people and places in Sheffield and Rotherham marks the start of this journey.
“We hope passengers from the local area and beyond enjoy the benefits this new transport option will provide.”
Tickets for the service will be available from conductors on board.
South Yorkshire’s Tram Train pilot will run for two years while customer satisfaction, passenger numbers, reliability and costs are tested, and will continue if the pilot is declared as successful.
The Government-funded programme is a partnership between SYPTE, Network Rail, Stagecoach Supertram and Northern Rail.
It was branded “an absolute scandal” by MP Sarah Champion last year after being described as “ a how not to” guide for rail links, with the cost soaring by 400 per cent and the launch date massively delayed from the original target of December 2015.