Don Your Way column: Isn’t it time we let trams replace the train strain?

As regular readers may already know, my frequent journeys to work in Sheffield from Doncaster are conducted by means of rail transport.

You’ve already heard me grumble on at length about the tired, tatty trains, the late running services, the other mumbles and moans that you’ll hear from other commuters on pretty much a daily basis.

Darren Burke hopes trams will take the strain off the train

Darren Burke hopes trams will take the strain off the train

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In recent weeks, the morning misery has been compounded by some seriously overcrowded and uncomfortable journeys to the extent that, by the time the service reaches Rotherham, there’s not enough room to get everyone on.

There have been several occasions where passengers have been left standing on the platform while those on board suffer horribly cramped and sauna like conditions as the train rattles its way slowly onto Meadowhall and then Sheffield.

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It has been that bad recently that rather than staying on all the way to Sheffield, myself and several others have bailed out and got the tram the rest of the way in, just to get some fresh air and a bit of comfort.

Next week, the first tram trains will begin from Rotherham to Sheffield - and fingers crossed they’ll take a heck of a lot of strain off the struggling rail network.

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I’ve seen frazzled guards desperately trying to get people to move along the train – when there simply isn’t any space to move into.

And if you’re halfway down the carriage when it comes to getting off at Meadowhall, well, good luck as you push and barge your way down the aisle to get out.

It really does make for an unpleasant commute – bad enough when you’re cold and wet and running late, knowing you’ve got a busy day ahead of you.

There’s been some talk recently of the tram route being extended as far as Doncaster, now its made its way out as far as Rotherham, but I can’t see that materialising anytime in the future, even though the good people of Doncaster have been forking out to pay for the Supertram system for decades.

And even if it did, would people swap from a train onto a tram that was travelling the same route?

All that’s something to consider for another day, presumably well into the future.

I know the tram often comes in for some stick and I myself have been a critic over the years.

But if this new three times an hour service helps to ease some of that horrible early morning pressure, you’ll loudly hear me singing its praises from the rooftop.

Which is precisely where you might find me clinging on for dear life on the final rattle into Sheffield if that overcrowding issue doesn’t end up being solved after all!

Here’s hoping...