The United Kingdom‘s first tram-train hybrid is currently being installed in Sheffield, England, and when it’s completed in 2016 the public transit line will provide a seamless transition from the national railway tracks to the existing city tracks of the Sheffield SuperTram. According to Wired, The eight-mile commuter rail line runs from suburban Rotherham Parkgate to Sheffield city center, and the $98 million (£60 million) pilot project will test the system to see if it will work in the rest of the U.K.
The tram-train hybrid uses a special wheel design that is able to handle both the high speeds of raised commuter rail lines and the tight turns of embedded city tram tracks. The multi-purpose wheels were developed at the University of Huddersfield’s Institute of Railway Research.
“Tram-Train’s dual operation provides greater flexibility, additional services and routes, and better connections for passengers,” said David Crosbee, a senior research fellow at the University of Huddersfield’s Institute of Railway Research.
The tram-train concept was first pioneered in Karlsruhe, Germany in 1992 and it’s actually called the “Karlsruhe model.” Running trams and trains on the same tracks has also been tried in other areas of Europe and North America, including New Jersey’s River Line and Ottawa’s O-Train.
Images by Doellman