Tuesday 4 Jul 2017
Network Rail responds to National Audit Office report into Tram Train pilot
EMBARGOED UNTIL: Tuesday, 4 July 00:01. In response to the National Audit Office (NAO) report into the pilot for Tram Train, published on Tuesday 4 July 2017.
Rob McIntosh, Network Rail’s London North Eastern and East Midlands Route Managing Director, said: “Sheffield to Rotherham tram-train is an ambitious pilot, a UK first, that will bring new travel choices to people of South Yorkshire when services begin in 2018. The project continues to be complex and challenging but will deliver real benefits for thousands of daily commuters.
“Costs and timescales have moved as the project itself has grown in scope and complexity and has had to incorporate more significant infrastructure changes than originally planned. Good progress is being made and a new project team is now in place and driving the scheme to its conclusion.”
Over the past year all of the track and junctions connecting the tramway and railway have been installed and the erection of overhead masts between Tinsley and Parkgate, completed. Work has also started on the construction of the new tram-train platform at Parkgate, and work continues to raise College Road bridge to allow the overhead power lines to pass underneath.
Mr McIntosh continued: “The project has learned from tram-train systems in Europe that have encountered their own challenges but there were still a significant number of unique issues to the UK that had to be overcome.”
An example of this is the electrification system, which uses DC power as opposed to the AC system which is used across the majority of our network. The pilot has deliberately taken significant time to robustly test and investigate the best way to provide this system.
Similarly the project has been extended to include additional work to future-proof the tram-train electrification system for later conversion to the national rail standard system that was not part of the original scope. Such factors have added time and cost to the pilot which is under significant pressure to deliver a much-anticipated service for the local community and our partners.
Mr McIntosh concluded: “As acknowledged by the NAO, significant changes have been made to the management of the project, with a number of construction milestones achieved, new expertise has been added to the project team and a new, more robust schedule of works created.
“Upcoming milestones include the completion of the tram-train stops at Rotherham Central and Parkgate and the completion of the overhead line power system. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners to enable the introduction of a full tram-train service for passengers in 2018.”
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.