The Anonymous Widower

£690 Million Competition For Local Authorities To Tackle Urban Congestion And Get Local Transport Networks Moving Again

This quote is directly from today’s budget and is the real joker in the pack.

Is the £690 million all for one project, or is it to be split between say thirty ones of £20 million or so.

What I like about it, is that several towns and cities will come forward with very good well-structured schemes.

Schemes, I’ve seen in Europe that I like include.

In some ways the Kassel tram-train system is the most impressive.  I sat in a cafe and watched trams and large trams (tram-trains) cross in front of me. Passengers would get off and on and then when their next tram or tram-train arrived they would board and go on their way.

When you see Kasssel, you realise what an opportunity was missed in Manchester, where tram-trains could come into Piccadilly station, take to the streets and pass through Piccadilly Gardens and then go to Victoria station, where they took to the tracks again.

If we look at the cost of the latest Manchester Metrolink extension to the Trafford Centre, it is disclosed in this article in Railway Technology Magazine at £350 million.

So you could get two tram lines for the whole £690 million. Or one line and a lot of tram-trains, trams or trains.

  • Large central squares are rare in the UK compared to Europe.
  • Birmingham has one, but it’s already got a local transport network. It was also have their version of Seville’s trams.
  • Liverpool has the waterfront, but it’s buying new trains.
  • Nottingham has one, but like Birmingham has a tram network.

The interesting one is Middlesbrough.

This Google Map shows the town centre.

Note the railway passing through the town with the Grade II Listed Middlesbrough station to the North of the town centre.

One line through the station is the Tees Valley Line from Saltburn on the Coast to Bishop Auckland a few miles inland.

If this line were to be run by tram-trains or at least modern trains  (London Overground Class 172 (?)) that looked like trams, they could go walk-about through the gardens and the shops in the centre of the town and have stops by the shops in the centre, the Town Hall and the Riverside stadium.

Stops on the line would include Redcar, Darlington and Newton Aycliffe.

Branches from the line go all over the area to Hartlepool, Stockton, Whitby and Sunderland and Newcastle via the Durham Coast Line.

A lot of people will have fun with this competition.

Places to watch would include.

  • Brighton to Hove along the front.
  • Southend.
  • Portsmouth to Southampton
  • Cardiff
  • Milton Keynes
  • Huddersfield
  • Leeds-Bradford and the Airport.

Some of the schemes that don’t get funding could even be picked up by the various infrastructure funds, that are always looking for investments.

Spreadsheet Phil has had an idea with vision!

The size of the fund could bring forward some very innovative ideas, other than the usual by-passes, car-parks and more of the same shops.


March 8, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments