The Meadowhall route runs northeast from the city centre, through largely industrial, leisure and retail areas, to Meadowhall Shopping Centre.
The route is all reserved right-of-way, including a section which shares a railway alignment with a heavy rail track.
Trams run every ten minutes from Meadowhall through the city and on to Middlewood (Yellow Line). Between 0900–1415 (Mon–Fri), 0900–1820 (Saturday) and 1030–1745 (Sunday) Purple Line trams also run between Meadowhall and Herdings Park every 30 minutes, reversing at Cathedral stop. At peak times, and at the start and end of service, a handful of trams also run direct between Sheffield Station and Hyde Park, along the third side of the triangle junction at Park Square.
The city centre section is described in the Middlewood page. Trams travel through the city centre to Fitzalan Square Ponds Forge stop, next to Ponds Forge International Sports Centre. From here the tram line crosses to the centre of the large Park Square roundabout on a steel bowstring arch bridge. In the centre of the roundabout is a triangle junction—trams go left for Meadowhall and right for Halfway and Herdings Park.
After Cricket Inn Road stop the line crosses the A61 Sheffield Parkway. The next stop is Nunnery Square, but before the stop the is a junction with a double track line leading to Nunnery depot, which is alongside the tram stop. The depot and tram stop are on former railway land, and lie next to the operational Sheffield–Worksop–Cleethorpes railway line.
After Nunnery depot, the tramway climbs up to join Woodbourn Road and cross the Sheffield–Worksop–Cleethorpes railway line. It drops down a steep incline, crosses Woodbourn Road to Woodbourn Road stop, then runs alongside the other side of the road before crossing Stainforth Road.
From Attercliffe the tramway continues to run alongside the canal, and is also joined by a single railway track—the freight line from Nunnery Junction to Tinsley and Rotherham. Light and heavy railway tracks share an alignment as far as Tinsley. This is an area of Sheffield once dominated by heavy industry, mainly steel works, now being redeveloped with sport, shopping and leisure facilities such as Meadowhall Shopping Centre, Sheffield Arena and Valley Centertainment with its bowling alley, cinema, nightclub and restaurants. There are tram stops to serve these destinations at Arena/Don Valley Stadium, Valley Centertainment, Carbrook and Meadowhall South/Tinsley.
At Tinsley the tram and railway lines part company, and the tramway runs in the shadow of the double-deck M1/A631 Tinsley viaduct. The line changes from double- to single-track, turning left back in the direction of the city as it runs alongside another railway line, the passenger route from Sheffield to Rotherham, to reach Meadowhall.
At Meadowhall the trams terminate in the only substantial stop on the system, which is also the only two-track terminus. This is part of Meadowhall Interchange, which also includes a 4-platform railway station and a good-sized bus station.
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