The Anonymous Widower

Sheffield Region Transport Plan 2019 – Tram-Trains Between Sheffield And Doncaster-Sheffield Airport

The Sheffield plans, state this as a medium to long-term priority.

Regional tram-train services to be maximised through Rotherham Central, with direct fast services to Doncaster, DSA and Sheffield.

The tram-train route between Sheffield and Doncaster, would probably be as follows.

  • Tinsley Meadowhall South
  • Magna
  • Rortherham Central
  • Rotherham Parkgate
  • Swinton
  • Mexborough
  • Conisbrough
  • Doncaster

The distance between Rotherham Parkgate and Doncaster is under twelve miles and has full electrification at both ends.

The Class 399 tram-trains being built with a battery capability for the South Wales Metro to be delivered in 2023, should be able to reach Doncaster.

But there are probably other good reasons to fully electrify between Doncaster and Sheffield, via Meadowhall, Rotherham Central and Rotherham Parkgate.

The major work would probably be to update Rotherham Parkgate to a through station with two platforms and a step-free footbridge.

Currently, trains take twenty-three minutes between Rotherham Central and Doncaster. This is a time, that the tram-trains would probably match.

Onward To Doncaster Sheffield Airport

I have clipped this map of services from the report on Sheffield’s plans.

The tram-train route to the Airport is clearly marked in a broken orange line.

  • The tram-train uses a loop from the East Coast Main Line.
  • It shares the loop with expresses between London and Doncaster, that call at the Airport.
  • The tram-train extension from Doncaster to Doncaster Sheffield Airport has new stations at Lakeside, Bessacarr and terminates at a new station at Bawtry.

It looks a well-thought out plan.

 

 

 

July 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 8 Comments

The Tram-Train Platforms At Rotherham Central Station

When I passed through Rotherham Central station, I took these pictures of the tram-train platform extensions.

I do wonder, if the design is right.

  • I was going to the New York stadium and if I’d arrived on a tram-train from Sheffield city centre, I would have walked a long way down the full platform to cross the line using the stairs or lift.
  • Going back to Sheffield, will I be able to avoid walking to the station entrance.
  • Passengers expect to be able to walk directly to a tram platform without any barriers.
  • Tram passengers also expect to be able to walk across the lines to get to the other platform.

I shall be interested to see how bad the design is when it’s finished.

 

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The Penistone Line And Rotherham Tram-Train Trials

The Penistone Line Tram-Train Trial

The Penistone Line from Sheffield to Barnsley, Penistone and Huddersfield was the line originally selected for the tram-train trial.

In the Wikipedia entry for the line, this is said about the tram-train trial.

On 18 March 2008, the Department for Transport released details of a proposal to trial tram-trains on the Penistone Line, the first use of such vehicles in the UK. The trial was to start in 2010 and last for two years. Northern Rail, the operator of passenger services on the line, asked potential manufacturers to tender for the design and construction of five new vehicles, which Northern Rail would subsequently lease. In addition, Network Rail planned to spend £15m modifying track and stations to make them compatible with the new vehicles.

However, it was announced on 15 September 2009 that a city tram-train trial between Rotherham and Sheffield would replace the Penistone Line scheme.

More about the trial is said in this article on Rail News, which is entitled Penistone Line Is Chosen For £24m Tram Trains Trial. In particular, this is said.

One of the biggest initial tasks is to set a specification for the building of the five diesel-electro hybrid tram trains at a cost of £9 million. The trains will have to be equipped with braking systems suitable for on-street running and a Train Protection Warning System which is required for running on lines with ‘heavy’ rail passenger and freight trains.

The article was written in 2008 and Chemnitz hybrid Citylink tram-trains didn’t enter service until 2016.

So was the trial on the Penistone Line a disaster before it even started?

It had the following problems.

  • It was expecting a diesel-electric hybrid tram to be designed and built before 2010.
  • A long distance was involved.
  • The track-work needed to connect to the Sheffield Supertram could have been incredibly complicated.
  • The first all-electric Citylink tram-trains weren’t delivered to Karlsruhe until May 2014, which was seven months late.

For these and other reasons, I think that the decision of the trial to be delayed and to use Rotherham, was a prudent decision.

The Rotherham Tram-Train Trial

Consider these characteristics of the current trial, between Cathedral and Rotherham Psrkgate.

  • The tram-trains are virtually standard Karlsruhe Citylink tram-trains, adapted for UK 25 KVAC and painted blue!
  • A simple chord connecting the two systems.
  • A few miles of electrification, that could be powered by either 750 VDC or 25 KVAC.
  • Modification of the recently-built Rotherham Central station.
  • Building of a new terminal tram stop at Rotherham Parkgate.

It’s a simple plan, but one that covers a lot of design possibilities and has few, if any, risky elements, that haven’t been done in the UK or Karlsruhe.

The following can be tested.

  • The Class 399 tram-trains on the Sheffield Supertram network and an electrified main line.
  • Passenger entry and exit at Rotherham Central station and all over the Supertram network.
  • Operation under both 750 VDC or 25 KVAC.
  • Signalling systems on both tram and main line networks.

The one thing that can’t be tested is a diesel hybrid tram-train as they have in Chemnitz, as they haven’t ordered any!

But if they did want to order some, they could easily be tested between Cathedral and Rotherham Parkgate.

Conclusion

The original plan to use the Penistone Line and diesel-electric tram-trains was impossible.

Network Rail might have got this one right at the second attempt.

They could even run a UK version of the Chemnitz hybrid tram-train on the test route between Sheffield and Rotherham.

 

October 18, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

From Leeds To Rotherham

This was not what you would call a quality journey.

By train it took 56 minutes, which is about nine minutes longer than it would take in the average car according to various web sites.

There are also nine stops in another Cook’s Tour of Yorkshire.

It was also in a Class 142 train or Pacer.

The map clipped from Wikipedia shows the Wakefield Line, which is the route the train took.

These pictures were taken on the journey.

In this day and age for a journey of an hour a better train is needed, especially as the two end points are Leeds and Sheffield,where the two cities have a joint population of about 1.3 million.

The fastest trains between Leeds and Sheffield are run by CrossCountry and take forty minutes using the Wakefield Line.

As the fastest Rotherham Central to Sheffield trains take 14 minutes, I think it is reasonable to assume, that the right train could do Leeds to Rotherham Central in 26 minutes.

This route could become a Northern Connect route, run by new Class 195 trains.

As the route is electrified between Leeds and Fitzwilliam station, I wonder if this could be a route for a Class 319 Flex train.

Both trains are 100 mph units, as against the 75 mph of the Class 142 train, which probably defines the timetable.

From my observations, the route is not particularly arduous and I suspect that either train could do the journey in just over forty minutes, even with all the stops.

Certainly, the current service is truly dreadful and inadequate.

It appears that the overhead wires are going up for the tram-train to Sheffield. Or at least the gantries!

April 22, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Rebuilding Of Rotherham Central Station

Rotherham Central station was rebuilt in 2012, but it seemed no-one thought about electrification, so the low bridge over the railway for College Road wasn’t touched.

Now that bridge is being rebuilt.

This article in the Rotherham Advertiser is entitled Tram works mean four-month closure for town centre road.

This is said.

A major town centre street will be closed for more than four months to allow key work in the pioneering tram-train link to go ahead.

College Road will be shut from tomorrow until August 18 as the bridge over the railway is being demolished.

Engineers from Network Rail will replace it with a higher one so that overhead lines which will power the tram-trains can be safely installed underneath.

Why wasn’t the bridge raised earlier, when the station was rebuilt?

I suppose someone in the Treasury looked at Rotherham on a map and said that was a place that will never need electric trains.

 

April 22, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment