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Keeping the trams on their track in Sheffield

11 June 2015

Specialist drainage support is helping keep the wheels of public transport in motion, in the form of Sheffield's light rail tram service

The team at the Lanes Sheffield depot is delivering a programme of planned maintenance for the Stagecoach Supertram, which is used by more than 13 million passengers a year.

Lanes Group has significant experience in delivering drainage services for both tram network construction projects and ongoing maintenance in cities across the UK, including Edinburgh, Manchester and Nottingham.

This gives public transport clients unrivalled access to specialist light rail drainage expertise.
Sheffield's tram network, which started operating in 1994, has its own drainage system, designed to minimise the risk of tracks flooding during periods of heavy rainfall.

Stagecoach Supertram maintenance team leader John Kolchuk said: "Lanes Group does a very good job for us, working with our maintenance crews on the tram drainage systems.

"One of the main priorities is to make sure the rail points systems are kept clean and clear, so they can't be affected by water, which could cause signalling problems and so disrupt services."

Lanes Group drainage engineers carry out the planned maintenance work twice a year, in early spring and in autumn.

A jet vac tanker team is deployed, alongside a Stagecoach Supertram maintenance crew, every night for a week each time, jetting clear track drainage pipes and points boxes.

When necessary, a CCTV drainage survey team is also involved, to inspect and survey the pipework, which ranges from 2.5 inch diameter plastic pipes to 7 inch diameter concrete gullies.

Lanes Group also responds to emergency calls - such as the time that a drain rod stuck in the track drain line was found to be the cause of serious local flooding. It provides a planned and reactive maintenance service for Stagecoach Supertram's central tram depot.

Barry Smith, operations manager at the Lanes depot in Sheffield, said: "Building a good working relationship with our Supertram partners has been important to the success of this work.

"We have a very good understanding of the drainage issues associated with Sheffield's tram network, and how best to tackle them.

"This means we can provide a very effective service. Covering a lot of ground during each round of maintenance.

"Stagecoach Supertram is vital to the smooth running of public transport in the city, and we're very pleased to be able to contribute to the success of such an essential service."

Stagecoach Supertram has three lines - Yellow, Blue and Purple. There are plans to extend the system by introducing innovative technology, allowing trams to switch between the tram network and local rail lines.

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