In Pictures: Preston Trampower project grinds to a halt?

Last time we reported on the project to return trams to Preston in the form a short demonstration line it seemed that after much delay there was a positive future with clearance works having commenced at the start of 2017. However, these initial small footsteps into the line being ready for use seem to have been a bit of a false dawn as these photos from Mike Haddon show.

The initial plan – which was finally approved by Preston Council at the end of 2016 after much toing and froing – was for a short 0.8 mile demonstration line on the former Preston to Longridge railway line between Skeffington Road and Deepdale Street. This would be for demonstration and test use only and would not be allowed to carry passengers with the City Class prototype tram expected to be used for this purpose. If this had proved to be a success further plans were in the pipeline for an extension and approval for passenger use.

Network Rail had started vegetation clearance works at the start of this year but since this has been done very little progress seems to have been made. The actual construction work – which was due to include a depot for the tram, a platform and a station building – does not seem to have started as yet.

Vegetation work may have started but there is still a lot to be done judging by this view on 3rd June 2017! This is the former Longridge branch line looking north-east at Skeffington Road.

This view is looking south-west from Skeffington Road crossing towards Deepdale Mill Street on 3rd June 2017. No clearance work at all appears to have been carried out along this section of the proposed demonstration line.

The former coal yard access tracks seen looking north-east at the Deepdale Mill Street level crossing on 3rd June 2017. These tracks join the Longridge branch proper between here and Skeffington Road and are planned to form the northern end of the proposed short demonstration line. (All Photographs by Mike Haddon)

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6 Responses to In Pictures: Preston Trampower project grinds to a halt?

  1. Nigel Pennick says:

    Trampower seems always to be about to start something, then it doesn’t happen for one reason or another. I wonder how much money the company’s spent so far with nothing to show for it. It can only go on for so long before they call it a day.

  2. Franklyn says:

    Who is supposed to be doing the building work? I’m amazed at Network Rail’s speed in chearing the tracks when you consider how long it’s taking them to mess around with the tram train project.

    Why do they need a test track in Preston though? Surely it would be easier to test it somewhwere like on Meteolink, running at night when other services are suspended.

    You’ve got to hand it to them fir persistance though. Someone should definitely write a book about the history, which is quite long now.

    • Steve Hyde says:

      The Preston project isn’t a test track it is a demonstration line. There wouldn’t be much point in using an existing network where the tram could only run outside service hours as it wouldn’t really allow it to be demonstrated. In any case it is highly doubtful whether the Trampower vehicle would be compliant with the structure gauge on other networks as they all differ slightly. It certainly wouldn’t be compatible with Manchester’s high platforms.

    • Paul says:

      Given your self-proclaimed “expert” status Franklyn, your recent comments here and regarding the Blackpool Twin cars demonstrate either a lack of understanding of incident outcomes or short-term memory issues.

      Review of the unfortunate conclusion to it’s previous test period in Blackpool should be all you need to realise why no other operator is willing to host it for trials…

  3. Mike says:

    There is no appetite for light rail so its a pointless exercise anyway. Trampower’s previous stop start record and the significant failaure of their now obsolete vehicle surely must stand a stark warning to any potential investor or Government body. Sadly the time for lower cost British built is long since gone and I doubt that the vehicle is up to current required spec.

  4. Tony Blews says:

    Much as I have poo-pooed trampower in the past (eg. not being able to get the address correct on their website, never answering emails etc), I do kind of admire their constant attempts to do something, even though they always fail. I wish I knew enough about the subject to know if their technology is sound (barring the occasional teething fire and derailment) or not.

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