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Volume 481: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when stage two of the tram trains trials will commence. (229475)

[holding answer 23 October 2008]: The trial will occur in two phases. The first phase will test the application on the conventional rail network (Penistone line) and will start in 2010. It will take two years to test the technical and operational feasibility of tram trains.

There is an option for a second phase to test how the tram train operates between the conventional rail network and a street tram system. This is the subject of more detailed business case work by Network Rail.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects the decision on the operation of tram trains in England to be made. (229476)

[holding answer 23 October 2008]: On 18 March, the then Secretary of State announced the trial of tram-train technology on the Huddersfield-Penistone-Sheffield route (Penistone line). On 29 September, Northern Rail issued an invitation to tender (ITT) for the procurement of trial vehicles for use on the Penistone line. Network Rail is currently undertaking detailed design work for the amendment to the infrastructure.