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
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 19 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, more than 4.6 million journeys are made in the UK. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.
We are building a better railway for a better Britain.