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UK Tram-Train trials announced

The Department for Transport has announced plans to procure five tram-trains for a two-year trial on the Penistone line in Yorkshire. The trial which will start in 2010 is intended to establish whether tram-trains, similar to those operating successfully in Europe, are suitable for use on Britain’s railway network.

The project is a partnership between the DfT, Northern Rail and Network Rail, and will look at the environmental benefits, operating costs and technical suitability of the tram-trains. Industry watchdog Passenger Focus will lead research into user perception of tram-trains, which will replace conventional rolling stock on the 60 km unelectrified route linking Huddersfield, Barnsley and Sheffield. There is an option for a second phase which would include testing on Sheffield's Supertram network to see the benefits of extending services onto city-centre tram lines.

The Penistone Line has 17 stations and is used by 1.2 million passengers every year, is one of the most successful Community Rail Partnerships and has been chosen for the trial because it offers the chance to test tram trains on a route that in part is for passenger trains only and in part for passenger and freight trains. Northern currently operates one service per hour in each direction along the route.

19 March 2008

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