Wednesday 20 March 2024

Sheffield Catch-Up (1)

fbb Never Knew That!

The above pictures appear in the "Shades of Brown and Cream" book and represent a big idea for trains in Sheffield; but whose idea is not at all clear. The cunning plan was to run a "big train" loop under the city centre.
There would be a station at Commercial street ...
...with trains taking the line of the present tram tracks and tram bridge ...
... but plunging into a tunnel where the present bridge ends. You would think that the station would have to be in the tunnel.

Trains would exit the Town Hall tunnel roughly half way down Howard Street (now pedestrian only at the bottom end) ...
... cross Sheaf Street AND the station on a viaduct ...
and appear above the platform level, again joining up with the line of today's tram on the eastern side of the station.
On this map ...
The Town Hall is top left.

Now look at the line map again ...
Those arrows seem to point to the route via Sheffield Victoria (station now closed) and eastbound towards Retford.

So, would an enhanced Huddersfield to Retford service run via the loop? And would it be two tracks or one. To be any use it would have to be double tack.

That whole idea seems, frankly, ludicrous; but, as we shall see tomorrow, ludicrous is the overall theme of developments in Sheffield and South Yorkshire, some starting as soon as 7th April.

The Mayor's Own Tram Set

Also ludicrous?

The headline is clear for all to see.

This week, Stagecoach says goodbye to its tenure as operators of the tram network. The system began under the PTE's management and was an unmitigated disaster with complex off-tram ticketing from machines that often did not work.

The whole concept of the tram was politically motivated and, under privatisation, competing bus services were generally quicker and usually cheaper.

The trams were dull and grey ...
... and folk in Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley resented the effect on their local tax bills, whist Sheffield people resented the years of disruption caused by the on-street building. 

Stagecoach introduced conductors, painted the trams in brighter colours ...
... and later in better brighter colours ...
...  and patronage did substantially increase. BUT ...

... The Supertram is still heavily loss making with a total shortfall now totalling over £6 million. SUPER OUCH!

And the original tram fleet is getting old and is in need of some sort of rebuild and/or heavy refurbishment. 
Who will pay?

Once again, the folk from Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley are not at all happy!

So who, exactly, will be taking over?

A new company has been formed called, snappily, South Yorkshire Future Trams Limited. But the "brand" will still be ...
Look there it is again (in the small print) "South Yorkshire's Transport". This tag adds salt to the wounds. Of course, there is now the tran-train at Rotherham but it is not used much by locals (by anybody?) because the bus is easier and quicker.

"Sheffield people should pay", is the anguished cry elsewhere in South Yorkshire County.  "It's no use to us either," replies the majority of Sheffielders who have no tram!.

Tough times ahead.

But who IS the company?

Registered office address
11 Broad Street West, Sheffield, 
S1 2BQ

Surprise, surprise; that's the HQ of South Yorkshire PTE!

And the company personnel?

DAVENPORT, Stephen Carl
Correspondence address
11 Broad Street West, Sheffield,
S1 2BQ
Company Secretary
Appointed on 20 October 2023

BEIJER, Pat Maria
Correspondence address
11 Broad Street West, Sheffield,
S1 2BQ
Appointed on 19 October 2023

SUTTON, Gareth Richard
Correspondence address
11 Broad Street West, Sheffield,
S1 2BQ
Appointed on 19 October 2023

So the new company is owned by South Yorkshire PTE! And the directors are all SYPTE employees, it seems.

Privatisation, what privatisation?

Snippet - It's All Still There
Actually, the bit of track you are looking at is on Leopold Street and latterly took trams to their beddy-byes at Tenter Street Depot.
Most of Sheffield tram tracks were simply resurfaced over the rails, thus proving a huge, almost eternal headache, for those who need to dig up the roads!

Nowhere near as big a headache ...
... as keeping Sheffield's current trams going!
It got worse for the chosen three on the mount of Transfiguration. They had seen Jesus in some sort of divine form. Moses and Elijah, two great heroes of the Old Testament had joined him. But better (or worse, depending on your level of understanding) was to come.
There was a Theophany, a posh word for God making his presence known in a physical way. A cloud APPEARED within which a voice spoke confirming that Jesus was indeed "The Son Of God".

In the mind of those who were there (Peter, James and John) there could be no doubt. But still the whole concept was beyond them just as we struggle with Jesus, God and Man, today.

So, progressing on his way to his pre-ordained fate, Jesus continues to teach about his purpose and his destiny.
'To copy and a gorilla" fills the red squares.
 Next "Ludicrous" Bus Blog : Thursday 21st March 


  1. Just to be pedantic, SYPTE hasn't existed for a few years now, it was replaced with SYMCA (South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority)

  2. The rail loop scheme was a part of the 1975 Land Use and Transportation Study which has survived online at . Most of it was rather more likely to happen! The plans also envisged major local rail improvements including the development of commuting along the Sheffield end of the Woodhead line- still being touted today. It was an attempt to deal with the remoteness of Sheffield Station from the City Centre (the City Centre, by comparison with any other major UK city, is long and thin rather than compact, and is up a hill from both the rail and Bus Stations). This was the era of the abortive Picc-Vic plans in Manchester and the plans clearly drew inspiration from that. In other points; most of the rest of the civilised world would regard a £6m subsidy to a tram network as small change (how much is the 'subsidy' for Sheffield's roads?) and I would dispute fbb's charcterisation of the tram -train as poorly used.