|Light Rail Transit Association
Light Rail for better public transport
Scott McIntosh, Principal Officer Tram & Trolleybus of Transport for London, gave his annual address to the London Area . As usual he attracted a capacity audience including a number of professionals from the industry.
He began by reviewing progress on London’s existing Light Rail operations. Investment in the Docklands Light Railway had now reached £875m. The TWA order for the City Airport extension had been granted during the year and the route selected for the extension to Woolwich. Ridership in 2002 had reached 41 million per annum. Further extensions into North Kent and East London were being planned. The possibility of taking over the Silverlink line from North Woolwich to Stratford and on to Stratford International was being considered. He thought if these came to fruition the DLR would be reaching its optimum size.
Croydon Tramlink was exceeding its predicted passenger loadings, and the figure for 2002 was likely to be 22 million. 7000 car trips per day have been replaced despite the fact that 55% of tram riders had a car. Use of cars from New Addington to Croydon was down from 59% of journeys to 32% on weekdays. At weekends car use was down from 72% to 41% of journeys.
An analysis of passengers on the system showed that 69% formerly used the bus, 19% the car and 7% had used rail. Off-street car parking in the town was down 6%, whilst the shops had seen an 11% increase in turnover. On the Wimbledon line there had been an eightfold increase in passengers.
A survey of users gave the reasons for using Tramlink, in order of preference, as follows:-
Studies were in progress into extensions from Wimbledon to Sutton, Sutton to Mitcham and Tooting, Purley to Croydon and Streatham, Harrington Road to Crystal Palace and Beckenham Junction.
Of the four schemes for improved Public Transport, trams had been chosen for the Uxbridge Road and Cross River schemes. Project teams had been appointed and the plan was to have a draft TWA for the Uxbridge Road ready by the Spring of 2003 and to open the line in 2008. The line is likely to require 40 trams.
Five years work had already been undertaken on the Cross River scheme and it was now the most advanced of the two. The Boroughs were pressing for it to be fast tracked. The 19km line will serve £7bn worth of regeneration sites. The estimated number of passengers is 72 million per annum for an outlay of £300m including 60 trams. It is proposed to initiate a design freeze in November 2003, and to complete the draft TWA in 2004. The provisional timetable assumes powers being obtained in late 2005, financial close in 2006 followed by a 3 year construction phase. Opening could be in December 2009.
The City of London has offered funding for TfL to look at a spur off the Cross River line from the Oval via Elephant & Castle to the City, Liverpool Street and Bishopsgate, and also a line from Centre Point along New Oxford Street and Holborn to the City also serving Liverpool Street and points east.
TfL is also looking at possible extensions to the Cross River Scheme. These include Kings Cross to Islington, Camden to Primrose Hill, Stockwell to Clapham and to Camberwell and Victoria to Peckham, Greenwich, Lewisham and Eltham.
The Borough of Kingston approached TfL in the Autumn of 2002 to investigate tramways in the Borough. TfL have agreed to a jointly funded study due to start in January 2003.
£1m Funding for West London Transit, Cross River, East London and Greenwich Waterfront Transit has been identified in the 2003 budget. In addition £500k has been allocated to Tramlink extension studies, £100k for Kingston and £300k for the City of London spurs.
Value for money of light rail schemes is important. The following table shows how the West London and Cross River schemes compare very favourably with other UK light Rail systems.
|Value for Money|
With an eye on the future and the possibility of inter working of the various schemes a Design Manual and Tramway Standards were being developed.
In conclusion Scott said it was 'Goodbye old trem' and 'Hello modern tram'. We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. The role of the LRTA was crucial in winning support for the new schemes and in overcoming ill informed opposition.London Area – Wednesday 11th December 2002
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