The UK government has approved a £58m pilot scheme to run new trams trains on both rail and tram networks in South Yorkshire.
The tram train pilot is a partnership between the UK Department for Transport and Network Rail, Northern Rail, Stagecoach Supertram and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), who will lead the delivery of the pilot.
According to the government, the trams will be ideal for the eight mile non-stop journeys between suburb and city centres, from Sheffield to Rotherham.
UK Transport Minister Norman Baker said that providing better connections between Sheffield and Rotherham’s city centres and residential areas will help to reinvigorate the local economy.
"Now we will be able to test whether they can bridge the gap between tram and train networks in this country," Baker said.
Starting in 2015, the tram-trains will run on Sheffield’s Supertram network and Network Rail lines to provide a continuous service between each location.
The project also includes electrification of a stretch of track between Sheffield and Rotherham, to be provided by Network Rail, and construction of 400m line linking the tramway to the train tracks.
SYPTE director general David Brown said: "The project will provide important, enhanced local connectivity and demonstrate the potential, both locally and nationally, of this new technology to deliver value for money services."
Network Rail route managing director Phil Verster said: "Now we can move into detailed design and delivery of the infrastructure to support this exciting project, which will bring lasting benefits to passengers in the Sheffield and Rotherham areas."
The new trams will operate from Parkgate Retail Park in Rotherham, travelling via Rotherham Central Station and joining up to the existing Supertram network at Meadowhall, where the services will then continue onwards to Sheffield City Centre.