Sheffield Supertram - A
Sheffield Supertram - A
The Sheffield Supertram is a tram and tram-train network covering Sheffield and Rotherham in South Yorkshire, England. The infrastructure is owned by the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), with Stagecoach responsible for the operation and maintenance of rolling stock under a concession until 2024, under the brand name Stagecoach Supertram.
Interest in building a modern tram system for Sheffield had mounted during the 1980s. After detailed planning by SYPTE, the Supertram proposal was approved by Act of Parliament in 1991. Construction of the network, incorporating several existing heavy rail sections as well as new track, was carried out in sections, allowing revenue services to start during 1994. Early operations, hindered by a complex ticketing system and the initially small coverage area, had disappointing ridership figures.
In an effort to turn around the performance, operations were privatised to Stagecoach in 1997, at price of £1.15 million, who took over from South Yorkshire Supertram Limited. After management and operational changes, and further expansion of the system, ridership numbers rose considerably.
From 2008, interest had been expressed in hybrid tram-train operations, which would be able to use sections of the mainline rail network as well as tramways. During 2012 an experimental trial was planned, as this was to be the first deployment of tram-trains anywhere in the United Kingdom. The start of tram-train operations, using a purpose-built fleet of new Class 399 Stadler Citylink electric multiple units, was repeatedly delayed, but on 25 October 2018, operations of the new tram-train line commenced.
The Supertram network now consists of 50 stations across four colour-coded lines, the Blue, Purple, Yellow and Tram-Train (Black) routes, which connect with local and national bus and rail services and six park and ride sites.
Sheffield Supertram History
Sheffield Supertram Background and initial Launch
In common with many British cities, Sheffield used to have an extensive tram network, the Sheffield Tramway (1873-1960). This finally closed in October 1960, it then being argued that motorised buses offered superior economics.
The new Supertram network arose from ambitions held by the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), which had been assigned the role of public transport co-ordination in the area. SYPTE refined an earlier and more expansive light rail proposal to include pre-existing heavy rail alignments, in order to gain the required permissions to proceed, and deposited several Bills to Parliament in 1985–1990 to gain the necessary powers. Financial approval was given by the Department of Transport towards the end of 1990, allowing the £240 million construction of the initial line to commence in 1991.
This line was opened in stages between 1994 and 1995. The first section, located along a former heavy rail alignment to Meadowhall, opened on 21 March 1994. The network was operated by South Yorkshire Supertram Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary company of SYPTE established to run the venture.
In the early years, the scheme was viewed by some as a failure, passengers continued using cheaper and more frequent buses, and retailers complained about the disruption caused by the lengthy construction works. The complex ticketing system was also a source of irritation and confusion to passengers. It became clear that projections for passenger numbers had been overly optimistic, and concern arose that the system represented poor value for money. The matter of who should bear the cost became an issue.
Sheffield Supertram Review and Privatisation
By 1996, the councils backing the Supertram brought in consultants to draw up options to address major operational and managerial problems. In December 1997, South Yorkshire Supertram Limited was privatised, and sold to Stagecoach for £1.15 million, substantially below the anticipated £80 million that the councils had hoped to raise to help pay off the accumulated debts, leaving several local councils with the long-term debt for the Supertram's establishment.
Under the terms of the deal struck by the Labour government, a reduction in operating costs was achieved, but it was calculated that the people of South Yorkshire were each paying 5p per week for the Supertram, which continued over many years. Stagecoach acquired the concession for the maintenance and operation of the Supertram network until 2024.
Sheffield Supertram Overview
Sheffield Supertram Owner: South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive
Sheffield Supertram Area Served:
Sheffield Supertram Transit Type:
Sheffield Supertram Number of Lines: 4
Sheffield Supertram Number of Stations: 50
Sheffield Supertram Annual Ridership:
8.4 million (2022/23)
Sheffield Supertram Increase: 21.7%
Sheffield Supertram Chief Executive: Tim Bilby
Sheffield Supertram Headquarters:
Sheffield Supertram Operation:
Sheffield Supertram Began Operation: 21 March 1994, 29 years ago
Sheffield Supertram Operator(s): Stagecoach
Sheffield Supertram umber of Vehicles:
25 Siemens-Duewag Supertram
7 Class 399 Stadler Citylink
Sheffield Supertram System Length: 34.6 km (21.5 mi)
Sheffield Supertram Track Gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Sheffield Supertram Electrification: 750 V DC overhead line
Sheffield Supertram Top Speed: 55 mph (89 km/h)
Sheffield Supertram Map
Brook Hill Underpass
University of Sheffield
Fitzalan Square/Ponds Forge
Park Square Bridge
Viaduct alongside Sheffield Parkway
Cricket Inn Road
Arena/Olympic Legacy Park
Sheffield Station/Sheffield Hallam University
Granville Road/The Sheffield College
Viaduct over Norfolk Park Road
Park Grange Croft
Manor Top/Elm Tree
Birley Moor Road