Northern Light Rail

Investment and expansion of light rail in the UK has stalled in the last few decades. However, 2010 promises to be one of the biggest years ever for new and expanded light rail projects. This article describes several of these projects, including a major upgrade in Blackpool. Blackpool is spending more than £100m on a major makeover of what is the longest surviving ‘first generation’ tramway in the UK. Dating back to 1885, it is one of the oldest electric tramways in the world and is one of only a handful of operational tramways using double decker trams. The tramway's one line extends some 11 miles, mostly along the coastline. Some vehicles date back to the 1930s. Many vehicles and tram stops do not comply with current accessibility legislation, which is one of the major reasons for the upgrade. Work on the system began late last year and includes the replacement of 5 miles of track, the addition of 14 sets of priority signals to speed up journey times at road junction, a new tram depot and replacement of all stops on the system. A new fleet of 16 trams will be put into service, but heritage trams will still run on the line as a tourist attraction. The upgrade is scheduled for completion in 2012. The improvements on the line and the new trams should help to reduce the end to end journey time on the Blackpool system by as much as 15 minutes. It is uncertain whether the Blackpool project, and other similar projects, represent a broader regeneration of interest in light rail transit in the UK.


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  • Accession Number: 01153317
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 30 2010 10:58PM