The launch marks the culmination of a complex pilot project to develop standards, infrastructure and ways of working which allows the vehicles to run on both Sheffield’s tramlines and the rail network.
Unveiling a commemorative nameplate at the launch, Jo Johnson MP Minister for Rail said: “The first tram-train journey is a milestone moment that will give commuters cleaner, more frequent and more reliable journeys across Sheffield and Rotherham.
“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.”
Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director at Network Rail added: “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.”
Stagecoach Supertram’s 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 and we’re delighted to be able to invite our first passengers on board today. We know that our passengers are as excited as we are about this launch and we can’t wait to hear what they think about it.
“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.“
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.
Following the pilot it is hoped that other communities throughout the country will see the benefits of this new form of transport and request their own version of the tram train.
For more information visit sypte.co.uk/tramtrain