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London – Future for Tram and Trolleybus?

Alan Pearce, 10th July 2002

Alan Pearce gave a presentation entitled 'London - Future for Tram and Trolleybus?' He began by stating that the views expressed were entirely his own.

Croydon’s Tramlink has been a huge success and can more happen in London? He asked what we as LRTA members should be doing to aid progress.

Four schemes have been approved for improved transit in London. Of these the East London Transit and Greenwich Waterfront Transit and Cross River schemes are largely street based. The West London Transit scheme will also be largely in the Public Highway or adjacent to it, whereas in Croydon there is only limited street operation. Trams have been selected as the mode for the Cross River and West London schemes and improved buses for the others. The trolleybus has not been chosen for any of the schemes despite public preference over buses. The new schemes will call for extensive traffic management to be successful.

By example to illustrate some of the problems to be solved, he took the audience along the Uxbridge Road corridor by means of many still photographs taken along the route on a quiet Sunday morning.

By means of photo montages, he illustrated how a Croydon tram would look in various locations. Whilst much of the route has ample space to fit in a tramway, there are a number of critical pinch points. These include Acton High Street, Ealing Broadway and Southall, where the planners will have to find acceptable solutions. Narrow sections with shops without rear access present a problem for delivery vehicles.

It will be interesting to see the plans for the route and to see what imaginative solutions can be found.

Following the presentation there was discussion over the merits of trams versus trolleybuses. Both have zero emissions and have demonstrated model shift. Trams were seen to discipline other traffic. One speaker said that improvements in diesel engine technology were reducing the advantages of electric traction. The debate had to be cut short due to time constraints. There is obviously much still to be discussed as these schemes begin to take shape.

London Area – Wednesday 10th July 2002

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