Tram-train is late and five times over budget

The National Audit Office (NAO) has reported that the experimental tram-train linking Sheffield and Rotherham is expected to be delivered three years late and five times over budget.

Intended to provide the first transport service in the UK to use both the street tramway and national rail network, the scheme was approved in May 2012 with an expected cost of £18.7 million and a completion date of December 2015.

However, the NAO publication has found that the cost of these works had quadrupled to £75.1 million by December last year, with network Rail expecting the project to reach completion in May 2018.

Despite twice considering to scrap the scheme, the Department of Transport gave approval for the project to continue in order to achieve the pilot’s objectives.

The Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, a critic of the scheme, said: “This project has been a total disaster from start to finish. The fact they can’t keep control on a flagship scheme like this shows what a total sham the Northern Powerhouse really is. My worry is that if we cannot deliver schemes like this on budget what hope do we have for HS2?”

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