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Tram-Trains for Sheffield to Rotherham

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Thanks for that Edwin_m and Stationmaster. Agreed the spacing of the piles looks more like they're overhead line structures, and yes, the numbers match the overhead numbering scheme and mileage. [Later edit: see next post - looks like km]

I believe the tram-train project is tied in with resignalling (or transfer of control to Sheffield box?) of the Rotherham to Woodburn Junction section. Woodburn Jn box controls the GC line as far north as a point somewhere between the Tinsley viaduct area and the Rotherham Holmes Chord junction.

Works requiring signalling will include the junction with the existing tram system at the Tinsley end (near the M1 viaduct - post 18 above), and also arrangements at the still-to-be-started Parkgate tram-train terminus to enable turnback of the tram-trains.

I'm not sure if there also needs to be special signalling considerations about keeping tram-trains well apart from conventional trains - some form of double-blocking?

 

Watch this space for more reports from your roving reporter.

Edited by eastwestdivide

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Sunday morning update: no more piles visible from publicly accessible locations, but there are more little wooden pegs visible at Bessemer Way (near Magna), by bridge WME 15A at 3m 58ch. The numbering doesn't in fact correspond to the milepost mileage, but seems to be kilometres from a zero point beside the planned junction with the tram system beside the M1 Tinsley viaduct: the post numbered 02/02 was right by the Bessemer Way bridge, and yesterday's (numbered 04/01) was in the cutting near Beatson Clark just N of Rotherham Central station. Both correspond closely to the km as measured using http://gb.mapometer.com/- see attached screenshot from that site, measured in km:

post-6971-0-21369900-1443958321_thumb.jpg

 

If anyone's taking a look around down that way, the good news is that the canal towpath is now open again under the new road bridge construction site, which is where the rail line crosses the Don at about km 0.8 or so on the map above.

Edited by eastwestdivide
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I think that a large part of the battle with this kind of project is coming up with a snazzy new name such as Metro-Link etc, which sounds like neither tram nor train, but a new form of transport. Is it the public who are shallow or my opinion of them?

 

Ed

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I'm not sure if there also needs to be special signalling considerations about keeping tram-trains well apart from conventional trains - some form of double-blocking?

Probably TPWS is fitted to all signals and overlaps are lengthened so that a train (or tram) passing a signal at danger will be stopped before it hits anything else. 

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Probably TPWS is fitted to all signals and overlaps are lengthened so that a train (or tram) passing a signal at danger will be stopped before it hits anything else.

There must be a fairly simple solution in existence already as they've been operating light rail and heavyrail vehicles north from Sunderland for at least 10 years. That stretch carries heavy freight as well as passenger trains along with the Tyne and Wear Metro vehicles. I'm not sure what measures are in place but they seem to have worked well.

 

Jamie

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There must be a fairly simple solution in existence already as they've been operating light rail and heavyrail vehicles north from Sunderland for at least 10 years. That stretch carries heavy freight as well as passenger trains along with the Tyne and Wear Metro vehicles. I'm not sure what measures are in place but they seem to have worked well.

 

Jamie

Quite  a lot of 'special measures' (by the standards of the time when that working was introduced) and there are some quite complex signalling controls involved, Sunderland is littered with Train Stops and treadles according to the original drawings.  The reason is that light rail vehicles (i.e. trams) don't meet the crash resistance standards required of heavy rail vehicles so signalling controls have to take account of that by ensuring proper separation, and identification, of the different types of rail vehicle.

 

It should now be much simpler with TPWS but that will require special design consideration to ensure that the action of TPWS will bring trains to a stand within signal overlaps plus some sort of train Stop control for the trams no doubt.

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Quite  a lot of 'special measures' (by the standards of the time when that working was introduced) and there are some quite complex signalling controls involved, Sunderland is littered with Train Stops and treadles according to the original drawings.  The reason is that light rail vehicles (i.e. trams) don't meet the crash resistance standards required of heavy rail vehicles so signalling controls have to take account of that by ensuring proper separation, and identification, of the different types of rail vehicle.

 

It should now be much simpler with TPWS but that will require special design consideration to ensure that the action of TPWS will bring trains to a stand within signal overlaps plus some sort of train Stop control for the trams no doubt.

I expect Rotherham follows the same basic principle as Sunderland, although in the latter the Metrocars weren't fitted with TPWS and signals were (dual) fitted with the Metro's Indusi train stop instead.  I imagine this was also used to prevent a train heading off down the Metro line or vice versa at the end of the shared section.  I did review the scheme plans at the time but can't recall many details. 

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Aren't the Tramtrains being fully equipped with ERTMS? So it is essential that any route they run on is also full ERTMS hence resignaling to provide this.

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For anyone who can get BBC Yorkshire's Look North local news, today at breakfast and the lunchtime news, they've had a segment with "exclusive access" to the Spanish plant building the vehicles. The film included a ride on one of the nearly-complete tram-trains that are going to "revolutionise" transport in Sheffield, and an interview with a chap from Vossloh España. 

(their words, not mine, in the quote marks)

Edited by eastwestdivide

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Bit more progress with the piling and electrification masts, all taken today:

 

Actual pile driven and temporary wooden cover, Bessemer Way Rotherham:

post-6971-0-26378600-1444563133.jpg

 

More posts and piles, Magna/Bessemer Way:

post-6971-0-75237000-1444563134.jpg

 

More posts beside Rotherham Central junction / New York Stadium:

post-6971-0-19700000-1444563136.jpg

 

 

All of the piles/masts/wooden marker posts I've seen so far have been on the W side of the line, so I'm speculating that the wiring for both tracks will be cantilevered over from the one side.

 

No work visible at the Tinsley end of things. Network Rail reported* to be still waiting for approval from the transport secretary to build the linking track.

*e.g.  BBC or Construction News

 

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Aren't the Tramtrains being fully equipped with ERTMS? So it is essential that any route they run on is also full ERTMS hence resignaling to provide this.

An ERTMS (properly ETCS)-fitted loco/multiple unit should be able to work over non-ETCS-fitted tracks, provided it has the other Train Protection systems (AWS & TPWS) fitted.

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I think the "rules" for Tramtrain operation i.e. mixed operation with some passenger carrying vehicles not having standard buffing load integrity and structural protection require that every thing that might encounter them is FULLY ERTMS etc and cannot overrun signal etc. and so endanger the lighter vehicle. 

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I think the "rules" for Tramtrain operation i.e. mixed operation with some passenger carrying vehicles not having standard buffing load integrity and structural protection require that every thing that might encounter them is FULLY ERTMS etc and cannot overrun signal etc. and so endanger the lighter vehicle.

In that case, Nexus (formerly Tyne and Wear Metro) must have found a way round, as they've been operating Metro units alongside normal main-line stock, including heavy freights, between Sunderland and Pelaw since 2002. Prior to that, 'heavy' and 'light' rail were to be found between Benton and Kenton Bank Foot (freight to Fawdon and Black Callerton). In the case of the Sunderland services, main-line services rely on AWS/TPWS, whilst the Nexus services rely on their own Train Protection system based, I believe on the German Indusi system.

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I think the "rules" for Tramtrain operation i.e. mixed operation with some passenger carrying vehicles not having standard buffing load integrity and structural protection require that every thing that might encounter them is FULLY ERTMS etc and cannot overrun signal etc. and so endanger the lighter vehicle. 

It can be done with TPWS as in Sunderland, but it requires all signals to have TPWS loops and also adjustments to speed restrictions and overlap lengths so a train (or a tram) passing a signal at danger is stopped before any point of collision.  In the case of Sunderland the Metro Indusi trainstop is used to stop Metro units, but TPWS is still needed to stop the trains.  Obviously TPWS has the advantage of being fitted to all driving cabs already, but an ERTMS based solution would probably deliver the same thing with less modification and resutling capacity constraint, once the rolling programme results in all stock in the area being fitted with the relevant equipment. 

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I don't think it is as simple as what is done elsewhere under grandfather rights from Old regulations. New schemes current rules. And just in case anyone hasn't noticed the T and W Metrocars are High Floor and were not only a Metro Cammelel built version of a Duwag Statbahn B they were beefed up to meet UK regulations even then. Sheffield are predominately low floor and even the higher bits are still well below even a wagon underframe height!  If say a 66 walked into one the buffer beam would go straight through all the passengers! Please live in the real world where whether you agree with them or not we have to live with the regulations as they are. Also remember that now we are under the ROGS regime one cannot convince HMRI that something is acceptable and they will approve and allow it . Now an Independent Competent Person has to personally certify that all is safe and meets all rules etc. and can be sued if they prove to have been wrong. So they have to get insurance against this and have to be overzealous in ensuring that what they sign off will not come back to break them. It's not funny, it's certainly not cheap and it's probably wrong but it is we are where we are.

Edited by Alan J Kirkman

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It's possible the separation of tram-trains from other trains may not be such a massive problem:

The entire length of the line for tram-trains is about 5km, of which only about 2km is shared with passenger trains. The planned tram service frequency is 3 per hour. There are normally 3 Northern passenger trains an hour over the 2km stretch, and the few freight trains over that route are timed to take something in the order of 6 minutes to cover the whole 5km (as far as I can see from realtimetrains).

I'm not a timetable planner, and I'm struggling a bit to see the picture, but might it be possible to give the trams exclusive use of the whole 5km for 5 mins out of every 20? 

 

On the other hand, we can speculate all we like, but the work is progressing on the ground, so you'd hope this separation issue has already been sorted out and agreed.

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I don't think it is as simple as what is done elsewhere under grandfather rights from Old regulations. New schemes current rules. And just in case anyone hasn't noticed the T and W Metrocars are High Floor and were not only a Metro Cammelel built version of a Duwag Statbahn B they were beefed up to meet UK regulations even then. Sheffield are predominately low floor and even the higher bits are still well below even a wagon underframe height!  If say a 66 walked into one the buffer beam would go straight through all the passengers! Please live in the real world where whether you agree with them or not we have to live with the regulations as they are. Also remember that now we are under the ROGS regime one cannot convince HMRI that something is acceptable and they will approve and allow it . Now an Independent Competent Person has to personally certify that all is safe and meets all rules etc. and can be sued if they prove to have been wrong. So they have to get insurance against this and have to be overzealous in ensuring that what they sign off will not come back to break them. It's not funny, it's certainly not cheap and it's probably wrong but it is we are where we are.

Sorry but this and your previous post are clearly incorrect in that tram-train is being implemented on Meadowhall-Rotherham with protection from TPWS alone and there is no requirement for stock in this area to be ERTMS fitted.  HMRI have been involved in this project and are content with the principle - I'm also aware that they have no objection in principle to a tram-train proposal elsewhere which would use vehicles with lower crashworthiness than the Rotherham ones.  I believe Network Rail provides Independent Competent Persons under ROGS from an independent department within the company so the issue of liabilty to individuals is largely avoided. 

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Thanks for Vossloh's technical drawing of the tram.

 

There's an open day at the Sheffield Supertram depot this Sunday (25/10): http://www.supertram.com/latestfromsupertram_8232.html

I'll try and get over there and report back if there's anything of interest. 

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A quick trip out this morning shows the line under possession, as it is apparently on weekday mornings at the moment, for piling/mast work. There were 3 road-railers (at least one with a piling-type attachment) in a compound by Magna, but not doing anything when I was there (Thurs 22/10, am). I was told they were out working Tuesday morning.

 

Anyway, more piles beside the line all over the place (one lying down arrowed on left of photo), and more in the ground with wooden covers (arrowed on right of photo). We're looking over the fence towards Sheffield along the former GC line, from just S of Rotherham Central Junction (near Booths scrapyard), with the Old Road crossing over in the distance.

 

post-6971-0-21769600-1445509315.jpg

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A quick trip out this morning shows the line under possession, as it is apparently on weekday mornings at the moment, for piling/mast work. There were 3 road-railers (at least one with a piling-type attachment) in a compound by Magna, but not doing anything when I was there (Thurs 22/10, am). I was told they were out working Tuesday morning.

 

Anyway, more piles beside the line all over the place (one lying down arrowed on left of photo), and more in the ground with wooden covers (arrowed on right of photo). We're looking over the fence towards Sheffield along the former GC line, from just S of Rotherham Central Junction (near Booths scrapyard), with the Old Road crossing over in the distance.

 

attachicon.gifIMG-20151022-00129.jpg

With it being so near Booth's aren't they taking a risk leaving them around the metal fairies might spirit them away or am I being too cynical.   Anyway, nice to see some progress and please keep the photos coming.

 

Jamie

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At the tram depot open day today. No particular news or additional info on the tram-trains, other than they're expecting delivery of the first vehicle on 1st Dec 2015.

Lots of people at the open day. Enjoyed the ride through the tram washer plant, and the thermic rail welding demo (they spelled it thermic in the leaflet - I thought it was thermit or thermite).

They also rolled out a tram in a 21st anniversary livery, with Pete McKee artwork in the windows.

 

Edit: to avoid taking this tram-train thread off-topic, I was going to post some tram depot pics over in the Sheffield trams thread to which I've posted before, but that seems to have disappeared, taking everyone's posts with it.

Edited by eastwestdivide

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Monday morning, 1130-odd, and they're out hard at work piling near Magna (Templeborough), between Rotherham and Meadowhall:

 

General view with "high-tech laser calibration unit", aka tape.

post-6971-0-77232100-1445861620.jpg

 

Two road-railers in operation, piling using the "lift a heavy weight and drop it" method rather than any vibratory method. At least I couldn't hear any high-frequency vibration, and could hear the clang-clang-clang as they knocked the pile in.

post-6971-0-93096200-1445861627.jpg

 

Close-up of the machines and their attachments - the long telephoto makes it look odd, but the arms are on two separate road-railers.

Anyone recognise the right-hand, red, attachment? Presumably a grab of some sort - that machine rolled off back towards the work compound while the nearer one (arm on the left) kept on piling, so possibly it was going back for the next pile.

post-6971-0-29263300-1445861624.jpg

Edited by eastwestdivide
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Walked from the Parkgate end to Magna/Bessemer Way again today, peering over all vantage points. Plenty of piles in the ground on the freight-only section, more lying on their sides around Rotherham Central junction.

 

The most northerly pile is roughly at the site of the former Rotherham Road station, just short of the Parkgate terminus, and S of the former swing bridge (centre in this photo), location in the top right of the map I posted in post 27 above. The red car arrowed in this picture is out the back of the shopping centre.

post-6971-0-08139100-1447601988.jpg

 

 

As yet, I've seen no plans of where exactly the terminus will be: this side or the other side of the green footbridge near the red car in the photo above. There's more space on railway land beyond (N of) the footbridge, as shown here. Photo taken from the black canal footbridge visible in the other photo:

post-6971-0-16855700-1447602344.jpg
The green bit of plant appears to be a wood chipper - they've been clearing vegetation recently, and the tubing I think has been used for burying signal cabling.
Edited by eastwestdivide
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