Sheffield’s tram network is to undergo a £32 million track renewal programme to replace the system’s ageing infrastructure.

The network’s operator, Stagecoach Supertram, and owner, South Yorkshire Transport Executive (SYPTE) will jointly fund the replacement.

Most of the work will be carried out over the next five years, with phase one of the renewal due to start in the summer between Spring Lane and Park Grange Croft.

Stagecoach Supertram has said that 22 kms of the 29 km system need to be totally replaced by 2024 to maintain service throughout the city.

SYPTE believes the announcement has come 10 years earlier than expected.

“When the tram system was installed in 1994, it was widely expected at the time that the rail would have a 30-year lifespan,” said David Young, SYPTE deputy interim director general and director of customer experience.

“However, over the past two years, it has become clear that this replacement work needs to be carried out sooner rather than later to ensure the people of Sheffield, and the wider region, have a robust and reliable tram network in the future.”

The works have been organised to fit alongside the proposed tram train pilot, which will see Sheffied and Rotherham connected by new rail vehicles specially adapted to run on both light and heavy lines.

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