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Yorkshire tram-train gets grant to develop business case


by Katie Silvester ■


A government grant has brought the Sheffi eld to Rotherham tram-train concept a step closer to becoming reality. Transport minister Norman Baker has promised £150,000 for Northern Rail, Network Rail and South Yorkshire Transport Executive to further develop the scheme by working together on the business case and the project case for the pilot. If the scheme comes to fruition, tram-trains


– which can use both on-street tram lines and traditional heavy rail tracks – would run between Sheffi eld and Rotherham, using the existing freight route from Rotherham into Sheffi eld and then joining the Sheffi eld Supertram network at Meadowhall South. Norman Baker said: ‘Tram-trains offer


passengers travelling from rural and suburban


‘Tram-trains have the potential to transform big city commuter rail networks’


Scotland to get


‘mini barriers’ Network Rail is to test the use of mini barriers at some open level crossings in Scotland to improve safety. The company believes a


‘shorter, stubbier’ barrier could cut risks to motorists while being signifi cantly cheaper than full-sized gates. A pilot will be run later this


year, and if successful, could lead to barriers being installed at 128 crossings across the UK. Former MSP Dave


Thompson, who has campaigned for barriers in the wake of several accidents in his Highlands and Islands constituency, described the move as ‘very encouraging’.


areas into city centres a viable, environmentally sound alternative to short and medium car commuting that can cut congestion and reduce overcrowding at railway stations. ‘These sorts of rail fl eets are already in use on


the continent, but this is a fi rst for the UK. The funding we are providing for this exciting project represents a real chance for us to test whether they can be adapted successfully for South Yorkshire and the rest of the UK.’ Geoff Inskip, chair of the Passenger Transport


Executive Group, welcomed the grant. He said: ‘Tram-trains have the potential to transform big city commuter rail networks so that passengers can get on at their local rail station and get off on the main streets of our city centres. ‘By combining the best of fast and dedicated heavy rail lines outside the city, and on-street running in the city, tram-trains can also relieve the pressure on our major city centre rail stations. ‘Tram-trains are already proven technology in


France, Germany and the Netherlands.’ ■ katie.silvester@railpro.co.uk


An Alstom Regio Citadis tram train in Kassel, Germany


Salisbury upgrade gets green light ■


Network Rail is to modernise signalling on the Salisbury to


Exeter line at a cost of £20m. The 90-mile route, which is


single track in places, now handles more than 40 trains a day, but some of the signalling equipment dates back to the 1960s and was last upgraded in the 1980s. Work will also be carried out


to level crossings along the route. In particular crossing access at


Sherborne station will allow use by wheelchair users. Network Rail’s Wessex route


director, Richard O’Brien, said: ‘The number of passengers travelling on the Salisbury to Exeter railway has been steadily rising, and it is key that the railway remains robust and reliable to serve this burgeoning demand.’ Work will start this autumn and will be completed during 2012.


Parry People Mover test re-scheduled ■


Plans to run an ultra-light rail service on the Watercress line in Hampshire have been re-scheduled.


Go! Co-operative had planned to use a Parry People Mover to run a


service for commuters to connect with South West Trains at Alton. It was abandoned at the last minute two months ago. The railcar suffered damage to its electric system in transit, which was


followed by a pump failure that prevented the vehicle from running. Goco says it remains in discussion with Hampshire County Council


and the heritage railway with the intention of running a trial later this year.


Chris Phillimore of Goco said: ‘The expertise we have gained A Scottish open crossing


developing and promoting the Mid Hants Link has made us even more convinced of the business case for ultra light rail, based on co-operative principles.’


Longer


lorries ‘will undermine rail’





Longer lorries would undermine rail’s efforts


to win a bigger share of the supermarket traffi c, according to the campaign group Freight on Rail. The Department for Transport


is consulting on allowing an increase in the length of articulated lorries, up by 2.05 metres to 18.75 metres.


The longer lorries would have


to operate within the existing 44-tonne weight limit. Research by TRL suggests


that the length would reduce carbon dioxide emissions, because hauliers could carry more goods in a single vehicle. The DfT predicts that the


change will cut growth potential in rail freight, but says rail operators could carry the longer intermodal units. The consultation ends on 21 June.


MAY 2011 PAGE 9


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Alstom


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