Preston Trampower approved – but not for passengers

After much delay and continued refusal by Preston City Council approval has finally been given for a tram line in the city although if anyone wanted to ride on the line they will be disappointed as it will only be used for “training purposes, as a demonstrator for other local authorities and to raise public awareness of trams as a sustainable mode of transport”.

It has seemed that the plans to return trams to Preston have been out in public for ever but it was 2010 when the Trampower group first put the proposal forward and what has now been approved is a small part of that proposal. Permission has been granted for a section of disused train line between Skeffington Road and Deepdale Street (approximately 0.8 miles) to be used for a short demonstration line. As well as bringing the track up to spec a tram station, platform and depot will also be constructed on a former coal yard in the Deepdale area of the city.

Trampower Ltd are already planning for an extension of this short line to run through to the Red Scar industrial estate (near junction 31A on the M6) and it is hoped that if this is approved – the application should be submitted in December – that passenger journeys will then be allowed.

Lewis Lesley, technical director of Preston Trampower said: “Bringing trams back to Preston after more than 80 years was always going to be an ambitious undertaking, but hopefully this planning consent can lead to bigger and better things in the future. We still believe this exciting pilot project can act as a precursor to a fully operational tram system for Preston that can be easily extended across the city and link up to other transport hubs.”

Presumably for the time being the sole City Class tram – as seen in Blackpool and Birkenhead in the past – will be the vehicle which provides these demonstration runs but if Trampower’s ambitious plans lift off extra trams will be needed for a public service which they hope would link the railway station with the north of the city.

There is still a long way to go before trams are truly back in Preston but we are at least a small step closer to that journey being completed.

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7 Responses to Preston Trampower approved – but not for passengers

  1. Ste says:

    As long as it doesn’t burst into flames again. Whilst this is a bold and brave move I can’t help but wonder if its about 15 years too late. trams in preston would no doubt be of great benefit but I think we are unlikely to see a British built one, especially from one with such a dubious safety background.

  2. Christopher Callan says:

    Can someone explain how company looking to embark on project that will involve millions of pounds seemingly cant even be bothered to update their website from 2012. Seemingly has their prized “asset” stood outside in prolonged outside storage. That without even mentioning the prototypes colourful history.

  3. Clifford Stead says:

    I have to say, disregarding the negative comments above, having attended the Light Rail for Leeds Summit on Monday they talk a lot of sense. They showed us their proposal for a cross city Leeds tram line.
    Preston council are obviously stuck in the dark ages on transport by their attempts to scupper Trampower. We`d gladly have their test track here in Leeds. Anything but First Bus is welcome.

    • Ste says:

      I remember the original Leeds tram plan which was stopped, so its unlikely anyone would consider it again unfortunately. In an age where it takes years to plan and build an extension of less than a mile anything is unlikely!
      Trampower have always been good at talking, but none of their schemes have ever come to much in reality. I’m afraid they will always be marred with the test vehicle which tried to roast its driver.
      I am very willing to swallow everything i say though, IF the Preston project proves successful.

  4. Clifford Stead says:

    I couldn`t disagree more, with diesel buses likely to be banned from the road in the next ten years and population levels going through the roof there has to be alternatives and light rail will have to appear in our core cities.
    Maybe I`m wrong but surely one fire twenty years ago shouldn`t be held against them for life, it does appear they face an uphill struggle from sceptics. I wish them every success, I enjoyed their presentation and I feel their scheme could really add quality to the Preston Transport system.

    • Ken Walker says:

      We had the solution to diesel buses over half a century ago but the politicians decided that trolleybuses got in the way of cars.