Tram-trains will run between Sheffield city centre and Rotherham from 2016 after contracts to deliver the £60M scheme – the first of its kind in the UK – were signed last week.
Project sponsor the Department for Transport signed the contract to deliver the new service with the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), more than a year after transport minister Norman Baker gave it the green light.
Network Rail will now be responsible for delivering the necessary infrastructure on its land, while the remaining works for the tramway will be procured by SYPTE.
The rail line from Meadowhall South to Rotherham Central station and Rotherham Parkgate will be electrified.
New platforms will be built at Meadowhall South and Rotherham Parkgate. Platforms at Rotherham Central station will be extended.
The scheme will also add three vehicles on the existing Sheffield Supertram service, to help meet demand at peak times. Manufacturer Vossloh will build the tram-trains.
Baker said the first two years of tram-train operation would be used to pilot the concept and allow the rail industry to assess the technical issues. If the pilot is successful, it could open the way for tram-trains to be introduced in other parts of the country.