THE first tram-trains have started running in British public service today, after the project had been delayed by several years.
The route now being served connects the tramways in central Sheffield with Rotherham via a connection with National Rail infrastructure at Tinsley.
The project has been seen as a trial to test the likelihood of similar services runnning in other cities, such as Manchester.
The original tram-train plans were announced by the Department for Transport in March 2008 for the Penistone Line between Huddersfield, Barnsley and Sheffield. In theory, services should have started in 2010.
The present route was selected for development in 2009, but the scheme was plagued by rising costs which have increased five-fold to £75 million.
Network Rail route managing director Rob McIntosh said the new services, which run every 20 minutes between Rotherham and Sheffield city centre, would stimulate the economy.
He added: ‘I foresee this network not just carrying on but also growing.’ He said further opportunities for extending the service would be explored.