It seems to be one of those stories which keeps on coming around – the return of trams to Preston in the form of the proposed Trampower project. With the plans for a short demonstration line seemingly having stalled again with no apparent progress on the construction works Preston Trampower are now seeking partners to fund the £25 million project – described as the “last part of the jigsaw”.
It was back at the start of this year that we last reported on the project – except for the movement of their prototype Cityclass tram to Blackpool for storage – at which time a contractor has been appointed to build the demonstration line. A sod cutting ceremony took place in January with contractors Wright Civil Engineering and Trampower officials Lewis Lesley and Lincoln Shields present. The plan at this point in time was that construction would start in earnest during March with demonstration services starting by the end of this year and then possible passenger operations in 2019.
However, it doesn’t appear that any further work has taken place and now comes the news that Trampower are looking for £25 million worth of funding to allow the project to progress. This is thought to be just for the 1,250 metre line between Skeffington Road and Deepdale Street and not the full planned 3.5 mile route which is still part of Trampower’s plans but has no approval from the local council.
Snowball Alternative Finance have been appointed to secure this £25 million with Peter Black, Managing Director at the firm, saying in a statement: “We are working closely with the team and looking at a wide range of funding options from local, regional and national sources. What is really exciting is that planning permission has been secured for the first part of the line. This is a 1,250-metre-long pilot line in the Deepdale area of the city. Eric Wright Civil Engineering has been appointed, so it’s now a matter of securing the funding then it will be all systems go.”
Lincoln Shields, from Preston Trampower, is also quoted: “Securing the funding for our project is the last part of the jigsaw and we are looking forward to bringing tram services back to Preston.”
We seem to have been waiting for a very long time for this project to actually happen and it appears with more delays we will be waiting a while yet. At least you have to admire Preston Trampower’s persistence…