Installation of the Tinsley Chord Junction which was a vital part of the Tram Train project.

The UK’s first Tram Train was launched at the newly opened Rotherham Parkgate Tram Train stop on Thursday 25 October, marking a milestone in the high-profile transport project for the team at TSP Projects.

Project partners from Stagecoach Supertram, Network Rail, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and the Department for Transport were joined by representatives from local authorities and businesses for the unveiling of a commemorative nameplate by Jo Johnson MP Minister for Rail and the Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, Dan Jarvis.

Passengers in South Yorkshire are the first in the country to benefit from the innovative Tram Train pilot, which entered public service at 09.39 at Sheffield Cathedral. The special tram-type vehicles use pioneering technology to run on both Sheffield’s tramlines and the rail network to Rotherham.

Jo Johnson, Rail Minister said:

“This pioneering project brings together innovation, state-of-the-art technology and our existing infrastructure to give passengers better journeys. It lays the groundwork for ambitious transport schemes right across the country that should give commuters more choice.”

The team at TSP Projects worked with Network Rail, whose responsibility it was to design and build the new infrastructure in collaboration with the regulator and operators, on the implementation of the new system.

David Brown, Senior Project Engineer and STT Project Contractors Engineering Manager at TSP Projects said:

It was a real technical challenge to develop and seamlessly integrate the two very different existing systems of the tram and heavy rail networks. TSP Projects has a well-established track record of working with our clients on complex transport schemes and we could call upon our considerable expertise in a number of areas, from power systems to platforms, to ensure a successful outcome.

Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director at Network Rail said:

“I’d like to thank the people of Sheffield and Rotherham for their patience while we developed, built and tested Tram Train.  The project has been a complex one and it is genuinely exciting to be ready to welcome the first passengers on board.  Tram Train will bring new choices for travellers in this area, supporting jobs and the local economy.  It’s also important to us at Network Rail as the national infrastructure provider, as it gives us different options when we are looking to improve connections between communities across Britain.”

The first of its kind, the project is anticipated to have real impact on the local region and beyond. By providing three services per hour in each direction, it is expected that the new addition to the Supertram network will give people a convenient travel option into and between Rotherham and Sheffield and enhance the local economy.

Stagecoach Supertram Managing Director, Tim Bilby said:

We’re so very proud and excited that Supertram and South Yorkshire have been chosen to pilot this state-of-the-art technology…

“This Tram Train service offers a quick, environmentally friendly and good value alternative for this busy commuting route, and also opens up leisure and retail venues to people across the wider City Region.”

The tram trains will link Sheffield Cathedral and Meadowhall South on the existing Supertram Network, before proceeding over the new section of track called the Tinsley Chord and continuing on the national rail network to Parkgate Retail Centre via Rotherham Central station.

South Yorkshire’s Tram Train pilot will run for two years while customer satisfaction, passenger numbers, reliability and costs are tested. Tram Train will then continue to run as part of the Supertram system.

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