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Tram-Trains for Sheffield to Rotherham

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Just seen the news that tram-trains have been given the go ahead for Sheffield to Rotherham. Good news for sure, but we really need a better name for them to help get the public on side. Suggestions anyone?

 

I'm not sure what format these will be, but they could do worse than copy the San Francisco Metro which has high floors, level boarding at underground and major overground stops with platforms, but steps at every door which lower to give ground level boarding on street tracks, and also has equal access ramps at lower level stops.

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These are 100% low floor Vossloh 36m dual OHL voltage trams. Seating 160 (2W), and capable of 100kph on heavy rail, 70kph on tramway. There will be 7 in the initial fleet, operating from Cathedral to a new turnback north of Rotherham called Parkgate.

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100% low floor is good. Doesn't that make it a tram though? And is the Manchester system Tram-Train?

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From another report the second voltage is 25Kv. Does that mean that Sheefield to parkgate is going to be wired at that voltage.

 

Jamie

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Unless the scheme has changed a lot since I last asked, they will be extending DC electrification from the junction with Supertram via Rotherham Central to Parkgate. A 25kV feeder station is an expensive beast but you normally need them only every 20+ miles - having two (in case one is out of use) on such a short section would probably blow the costs out of the water. I guess the Vossloh is available in dual voltage format but is that really what they have ordered?

 

These days non-level boarding isn't acceptable on a new transport system (makes life difficult for pushchairs and even more so for wheelchairs), so all the platforms served have to be the same height as the vehicle entrance. Rotherham Central will have to have sections of both low and high platform on each track.

 

Manchester Metrolink has some tram-train features, but doesn't share track with heavy rail. However the Manchester people are very interested in the potential of tram-train to extend Metrolink-type service onto some of their less attractive suburban routes.

Edited by Edwin_m
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I have been on the Tram-Train that runs on part of the Harz MG system in Germany. There they have low floor trams with a diesel electric generator for operations off wires. The engine is in a locked box in a central section thus reducing some of the seating capacity.

 

Having trams going onto heavy rail will be similar to the operation from Newcastle through Sunderland on the Metro.

 

If the expension to Rotherham works I bet that Donny might be a future extension - but let's not speculate!

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Unless the scheme has changed a lot since I last asked, they will be extending DC electrification from the junction with Supertram via Rotherham Central to Parkgate. A 25kV feeder station is an expensive beast but you normally need them only every 20+ miles - having two (in case one is out of use) on such a short section would probably blow the costs out of the water. I guess the Vossloh is available in dual voltage format but is that really what they have ordered?

 

The Vossioh will be order as dual voltage DC for the current scheme and suitable also for 25KV as there are now plans in the future to include the main line through Rotherham as part of 25KV electrification plans so the tram trains will take this into account from the outset.

Chard and I were both at the UK Light Rail conference last week where Norman Baker MP confirmed the annoucement and Network Rail also gave an update presentation.

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Cheers Graham - I only had my notes and the Tweet I sent to use as an aide memoire. There is a press-release on the Direct.Gov website that I used for briefing at work, but the core stats are as you've described. I hope to get a copy of the Network Rail presentation as follow-up, it was ripe with detail. The announcement has caused some of the other regional agencies to prick up their ears too, so exciting times perhaps lie ahead....

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Thanks for the info on the 25kV - I've not been involved in this scheme and I think the 25kV option is new since I last heard an update, which was at the same conference last year. An interesting example of planning ahead by someone!

 

Some collegues went to that conference this time - I'll have to get a brain dump from them.

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Baker's statement specifically mentions that Network Rail will electrify from Sheffield to Rotherham. I can't see this being at the lower DC voltage so they must be going for the 25KV option. It will also be interesting to see exactly which bits are wired as the link line is only 400m's long. I suppose it will all become as clear as mud in due course.

 

Jamie

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Almost certainly they will be using as much 25kV-compatible equipment as possible, to minimise the work they need to do if 25kV reaches Rotherham but also because any non-standard kit probably needs to go through a lengthy type-approval process. I suspect that over this length and with only one or two trams likely to be on the shared section at a time, the standard 25kV catenary and supports will be good at 750V too. They will also need at least one 750V substation.

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I notice there are two rail connections at Meadowhall, which connection will be used?

 

Also, where is the Rotherham terminus in relation to Google maps?

 

Cheers & thanks.

 

Andy,

Burlington, Ont.

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I notice there are two rail connections at Meadowhall, which connection will be used?

 

Also, where is the Rotherham terminus in relation to Google maps?

...

 

As I understand it, like this:

1. Connection from the tram lines to the main line railway here (google maps short link). Trams coming north out of Sheffield currently run parallel to a freight line, and they'll lay in a new connection to that line to continue down the Don Valley under the M1 viaduct.

2. Terminus approx here (google maps again). The first photo in this topic shows the approximate site, and the last two photos of the first post of that topic show the site for the connection.

Edited by eastwestdivide

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Just seen the news that tram-trains have been given the go ahead for Sheffield to Rotherham. Good news for sure, but we really need a better name for them to help get the public on side. Suggestions anyone?

 

I'm not sure what format these will be, but they could do worse than copy the San Francisco Metro which has high floors, level boarding at underground and major overground stops with platforms, but steps at every door which lower to give ground level boarding on street tracks, and also has equal access ramps at lower level stops.

 

The SF MUNI BreadaLRV's are great units, powerful and generally reliable - but they were expensive!

 

DSCN4971edt.jpg

 

A pair of Breda's await their return tip to SF Embarcadero at the Ocean Beach turnaround loop

 

XF

Edited by Xerces Fobe2

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Many thanks eastwestdivde, greatly appreciated.

 

Cheers.

 

Andy,

Burlington, Ont.

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Network Rail held an exhibition/consultation yesterday and today on the revised plans for linking the tram and train systems at Meadowhall. Now it's called the Tinsley Chord, and the location of the planned link has been changed to be the other side (Meadowhall side) of the tram stop at Meadowhall South/Tinsley. Speaking to the people there, this has a number of advantages:

1. no new platforms required at Meadowhall South.

2. space between the two networks for a voltage changeover, if the 25kV ever gets installed on the Network Rail lines (future-proofing).

3. space between the two networks so that in times of disturbance, trams can either turn back there (either direction), or be held for a short while without blocking either the rail or tram lines. e.g. a Rotherham-bound tram that had to wait for a freight to pass on the rail lines could wait on the chord without blocking a following tram for Meadowhall.

 

The leaflet now gives summer 2015 as the date for the Transport & Works Act Order, and work actually taking place from March-October 2016.

Works include "a small raised trackside building to house electrical equipment" - they said it would be raised in view of the flood danger from the Don.

 

A bit more info at www.networkrail.co.uk/tinsleychord

 

Here's my picture from the room where they were exhibiting, looking roughly N or NE at the M1 motorway Tinsley viaduct, with some pretty crayons showing my take on the maps that they were displaying. Meadowhall shopping centre is to the left of the photo.

post-6971-0-45507600-1423324221_thumb.jpg

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Would 25kv and 6.25kv AC not be a better combination as per early BR suburban Electrification such as class 308's dual voltage!

 

Mark Saunders

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Given the mayhem dual voltage caused on BR, not least in Glasgow where electric services had to be suspended for a time, no . Dual voltage seems to have given 25kV a reputation as a flaky unreliable system among GE railwaymen used to 1500V DC, which subsequent experience of pure 25kV systems suggests was quite undeserved

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6.25kV would be triple voltage then, as the tram system is 750V DC, and the new trams for the extension are being built as dual voltage for that and 25kV, although the 25kV won't be used at first. Can't see the need for anything other than that.

The new wiring for the tram/train extension from the Tinsley area to Rotherham & Parkgate will be at 750V DC initially, but installed on equipment designed for easy conversion to 25kV in future, for if/when Sheffield-Doncaster gets wired, according to the Network Rail chap in the consultation today. The same chap who also said that if/when Sheffield-Doncaster does get wired, it was unclear/undecided if they'd also wire the freight/diversionary route from Rotherham past Tinsley to Woodburn Junction and Sheffield.

Edited by eastwestdivide

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Sheffield-Doncaster would almost certainly include the loop through Rotherham Central though, so the tram-train would have to use its 25kV capability.  In that case it would probably be better to move the voltage changeover right back to the connecting chord even if the line down to Woodburn isn't electrified.  This would make the voltage change coincide with the administrative boundary and also avoid moving it again later if the freight line was eventualliy electrified. 

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Activity on the ground - in the last few weeks, some big round steel tubes (arrowed) marked "Pipe & Piling Supplies Ltd" have appeared at intervals beside the line just to the N of Rotherham Central station, plus some new (I think it's new) troughing, also arrowed:

post-6971-0-90676400-1443882328.jpg

 

They have fittings at one end, and seem to be located next to wooden posts (this one with "TP04/01"). Anyone recognise them professionally?

post-6971-0-01911100-1443882082.jpg

None to the south of the station that I could see today, at least as far as where the "Old Road" crosses the GC line 

 

Also a storage site with lots of corrugated plastic tubing stacked up (for cable runs? - arrowed) and concrete cable troughing, plus a road-railer and access point:

post-6971-0-76122900-1443882161.jpg

 

Will try and get round to other parts of the line between Rotherham and Tinsley to see what else can be seen.

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I imagine (but I can't confirm) these are piles which will be driven into the ground in the cess, and the threaded holes allow an OLE pole to be bolted to the top.  The OLE on Network Rail for this scheme is supposed to facilitate any future conversion to 25kV so will be to railway rather than tramway standards, possibly with minor variations to work with 750V. Each OLE support on NR carries a plate with one or two prefix letters, a mile or kilometre post number and a number to identify the support within that mile/km.  The numbers on the wooden pegs match that format and Rotherham Central is between mileposts 4 and 5. 

Edited by Edwin_m
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They look like the standard piles which are used for both ohle structures and for some signal structures.  The material in that dump looks to be mainly S&T related but teh spacing of the three piling tubes looks more likely as ohle related.  However with an electrification scheme going on I would in most instances expect S&T related work to be going on as well.

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