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Tram-Trains for Sheffield to Rotherham

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A well-timed walk today (after referring to the timetable) saw 66605 on the Dewsbury-Hope cement empties passing tram-train 399201 as it was approaching the Parkgate terminus:

post-6971-0-84117200-1546009604.jpg

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Another well-timed stroll: every 2nd Saturday, there's a steel train from Tinsley to Immingham, which according to the timetable should cross a tram-train at the former Rotherham Road station, between Central and Parkgate, beside the swannery that has flourished on the canal basin. Today, the steel train came to a halt a little way back from the signal that covers the Parkgate tram terminus (the junction signal visible in the 2nd photo). Maybe a little too far back for the photo that I'd hoped for, but still, another lightweight tram passing a heavyweight freight train. 399201 and 66164 for those interested.

post-6971-0-78091100-1546702603.jpg

 

post-6971-0-02608100-1546702609.jpg

 

That steel train also appears at the end of my post 327 on the previous page

Edited by eastwestdivide
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Heads-up for anyone in the area - there are engineering diversions for the next few Sundays with a lot of Cross Country and TransPennine trains using the line between Rotherham Central and Woodburn Jn, sharing with the tram-trains, although the latter are on a reduced timetable in order to fit in the extra main line workings. 

 

Meanwhile, a bit of luck here this morning. I was coming back towards Rotherham, seated in the front seats behind the driver, and we got checked at the signal at Rotherham Central Jn for this Northern strike day service to cross - a GWR green 153370 leading a Northern 158. Out with my mobile phone to snap it just as the tram driver waved:

post-6971-0-05334300-1547300037_thumb.jpg

 

Booths scrapyard buildings on the left, New York football stadium ahead, canal just visible out of right hand window

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Coming back on the TT today, there was an exchange between driver and control at Meadowhall South, and we crawled up to the junction, at which the driver got out, opened the front doors, put a tape across the opening to prevent anyone else getting out, and then walked ahead to change the points manually. So I had to quickly grab a photo through the (closed and locked) glass cab door:

131686444_TTmanualpointsoperation.jpg.0cd3ddc2b063b605143345633ff808ff.jpg

 

Someone told me they do this once a day.

It was the 1644 at Meadowhall South/Tinsley (1627 from Cathedral). Don't know if it's always this service where they do the manual points operation though.

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Sadly I've missed this thread.

Wow they got on with that quick,    

The last visit we had was 3 years ago,  sadly for the funeral of a tram driver who was driving from 1940 to the end of trams.. .  

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Just seen 202 running without one of its bogie skirts

95290C41-CC9B-44FE-B1E8-590536DF378B.jpeg

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Just an outside view - looks like the pattern between rails is repeating, every four rows, so could be a form of mould or template construction.

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It is imprinted concrete, cost a fortune when it was laid. If I remember correctly the track slab was laid by a slip form paver then the surface cast separately on top of it using moulds.

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Report in the local paper (Star) that 500,000 people have used it since opening.

A quick back of the envelope calculation:

188 days from opening until 1 May
500,000 passengers (suspiciously round figure)
so roughly 2600 passengers a day
for 50 services each way Mon-Sat, 30 on the 27 Sundays in that period making 188-27=161 other days, so 
161x50 = 8050 
plus 30x27= 810
=8860 services in each direction
500,000/8860 = 56 people on each service?

 

Seems like a lot if they're counting passengers on the actual extension, although I haven't yet experienced it in the peak.

Edit: hang on, maths: 10/10, logic: room for improvement. I need to count 8860 services in each direction x2 = 17,720 services

500,000/17,720 = 28 people on each service.

 

I caught one yesterday about 1pm from Rotherham, with about 15-20 boarding and some already on board from Parkgate. Of course it filled up on the way into Sheffield at the normal tram stops.

Came back on the 4pm from Cathedral, and at least 30 (I lost count) got off at Rotherham and at least a dozen stayed on to Parkgate.

 

 

Edited by eastwestdivide
Faulty logic

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New park and ride offer seen today at Rotherham station: £5.50 all day parking plus tram day rider ticket.

i.e. the normal all-day parking fee = £3.50, then show half the parking ticket to the conductor to get a tram system day rider discounted to £2 (normally £4.20) 

964493608_Rotherhamparkandtram.jpg.9df5b68b2a7064cc6e69bf50a83a5ec6.jpg

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GBRF has started running container trains to and from Tinsley Yard instead of Masborough FD, I think while the latter terminal is refurbished.

So at the moment, there's a few more freights sharing the tram-train route, notably a pair of container trains just before 1200. Looking on the Traksy signalling diagram, they seem to keep a respectful distance of two signal sections from the trams. Today I was at Rotherham Central at the right time to see these two, 3 mins apart:

1970486779_399206RotherhamC20191128.jpg.cbb4023a90b5777838a965ce05c50166.jpg1048308942_66748RotherhamC20191128.jpg.d41a4c8d7eb8ec9c213bc1d8ee64ea4d.jpg

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Over here in the USA, the BART system was specifically constructed wide gauge to prevent encroachment of a public funded commuter service by commercial freight train companies.  Hopefully that's not what is happening here.

 

Andy

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9 minutes ago, Andy Reichert said:

Over here in the USA, the BART system was specifically constructed wide gauge to prevent encroachment of a public funded commuter service by commercial freight train companies.  Hopefully that's not what is happening here.

 

Andy

Not at all - the freight was there first, sharing part of the route with existing diesel passenger services. For the tram-train extension, a short bit of the (relatively little-used-used) freight route was electrified, along with a short stretch of passenger route, and a chord linking to the existing tram system was added. 

The trams are only 3 per hour, with plenty of room left on the line for other passenger and freight services.

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A little sequence from earlier today, being in the right place (near Booths scrapyard) at the right time (nearly 1400).

Heavyweight passing lightweight: the 1344 Tinsley to Immingham Dock steel train passes a Sheffield-bound tram-train:

833361516_Rotherham07dec12.jpg.ceb8b262a413c6eb2fd00876b7a16961.jpg

 

1494560325_Rotherham07dec12a.jpg.90a22adef5387da8457de54f30decdbb.jpg

 

208432332_Rotherham07dec12b.jpg.e6206639376a0358f7eca3a7e651506d.jpg

(phone poked through fence, in case you're worried)

 

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As mentioned over on the (Stadler) 755 thread, the tram-trains are currently suspended:

See Supertram's Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/SCSupertram

Quote

We are unfortunately unable to run any Tram/Train services until further notice.This follows advice by the manufacturer,Stadler,that we need to temporarily withdraw the fleet. A further update will be provided as soon as we have been updated by Stadler.

Could it be connected to whatever the problems are/were in East Anglia? Over there, the problems seem to be related to train-track-signalling detection, although the info's a bit conflicting from different sources.

I don't know what interaction (track circuits/other detection) there is between the tram-trains and the road crossings/road signals on the Meadowhall-Cathedral section, but the original trams are still running that section.

Updated 3 hours later thanks to 4630's comment on the other thread - could be to do with detection on the NR section, or could be unrelated to the 755 problems.

Edited by eastwestdivide
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They're having a lot of problems recently.  The low temperature was causing issues to the OHLE earlier in the week.

 

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The tram-train is a design from the former Vossloh in Spain, which was taken over by Stadler - I think after the contract had been signed.  The 755s come from the Stadler facilities in central Europe and is therefore unlikely to share any design features.  So it's unlikely that the 755 problems would affect the tram-train.  

 

Nothing obvious on the website of the Karlsruhe Verkehrsverbund, which runs very similar vehicles, suggesting the problem is something specific to the UK.  

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BBC now reporting a "hydraulic fault"

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-50812109

Quote

Sheffield-Rotherham tram-train withdrawn over hydraulic fault

Tram-train services between Sheffield and Rotherham could resume on Tuesday after the vehicles were taken out of service because of a hydraulics fault

 

There was a test run of a tram-train that ran earlier today:

https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/O71178/2019-12-16/detailed

1139 Sheffield Cathedral to Parkgate and return.

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