Tram train hits 500,000 journeys in six months

The Sheffield to Rotherham tram train has reached half a million journeys, according to Stagecoach.

The service finally started in October last year, after a two-year delay and costs rocketing from a projected £15m to £75m by the end of the project.

Starting from the Cathedral tram stop in Sheffield, it follows a tram route before switching to rail tracks which go to Rotherham Central and finishing at Rotherham Parkgate.

The light rail tram train is the first of its kind in the UK, providing a quick Sheffield-Rotherham link.

But how much has the new route affected people’s lives?

Kath Hurst was visiting Rotherham with her two sisters, which they have started doing since the tram train was introduced.

Ms Hurst said: “I haven’t been to Rotherham for a long time. It’s a good service. It doesn’t take long to get here from Sheffield.”

Jonathan Harthill uses the tram train every day to commute to work.

“It’s saved me getting two buses, I work in Sheffield city centre so it’s just getting on one tram going to and from work,” he said.

“There are a lot more people coming to Rotherham because of it. You’ll see a lot of commuters are using it to get back home quicker, too. It also increases footfall at Parkgate as well.”

For Elizabeth Robinson, it was a brand-new experience.

“This is the first time I’ve used the tram train, I wanted to go to Rotherham for a specific shop that’s here. I’ve enjoyed being able to come through and I’ll come again! Next time I’ll probably go through to Parkgate as well,” she said.

The tram train has had problems ever since its rocky debut, where it was derailed in a collision with a lorry. The service was also suspended earlier this month after a vehicle fault resulted in the entire fleet needing safety checks.

Despite this, Stagecoach announced a 100% approval rating of the tram train service with a recent survey.

Tim Bilby, the managing director of Stagecoach’s Supertram, said at the time: “We are particularly pleased that the survey supports our own findings that the new Tram Train service has been extremely popular with users, and it is providing a key new link in South Yorkshire’s public transport network.

“People in Sheffield and Rotherham rightly take great pride in their tram network and we work hard every day to deliver the services that they rely on to access employment, education, health and leisure facilities.”

The tram train will be under scrutiny during its two year trial, but Mr Bilby suggested the landmark was a “fantastic achievement” for the service.