You may recall the ongoing project to bring trams back to Preston which seems to stall and then get restarted fairly regularly. The last update we had on it all was back in November 2018 and even the Preston Trampower website hasn’t seen a news update since March 2019 but if local reports are to be believed clearance works on the planned test line have now started.
A bit of background on what is actually planned is probably in order first off. A full 3.5 mile route – to be known as the Guild Line – is planned which would link the Deepdale area with the city centre and railway station but with no approval for this grand scheme the Preston Trampower project team were instead planning on getting a short demonstration line up and running in the Skeffington Road area. This would be 1,250 metres long and a station and depot would also be constructed. Work on the project should have got underway in earnest way back in January 2018 when there was a sod cutting ceremony whilst a memorandum of understanding was signed between Preston Trampower and Eric Wright Civil Engineering (who were due to construct the line).
The next we heard from the project was in November 2018 when Preston Trampower were seeking £25 million worth of funding – described at the time as the final piece in the jigsaw. At that time very little work beyond that sod cutting ceremony had taken place and as far as is known very little has happened in the next 18 months either.
A very brief statement on the Preston Trampower website dated 18th March 2019 titled “Progress Report” said “News to follow shortly on planning, commencement of works, funding and other project developments”. And that was it – no more updates given since.
Fast forward to May 2020 and Blog Preston has reported that work has recommenced to clear land on the former Longridge to Preston line which was to have seen the demonstration line. It would appear that the project was delayed during 2019 because an adjacent chicken factory had received planning permission to extend their building which would encroach on the planned tram line.
Whether this building extension issue has now been resolved or not is unknown at this time but there is once again very limited work taking place on the land identified for the demonstration tram line.
We will leave it up to you to decide whether you think trams will be running in Preston any time soon…