Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Wednesday, 2 April 2008 15:47 UK
Trams project enters latest phase



Trams - once a common mode of transport in Britain - fell out of fashion in the 1950s but now seem to be experiencing a comeback. Click on the map to find out more about existing and proposed tram services in the UK.

EdinburghBlackpoolNottinghamManchesterSheffieldBirminghamCross River TramCroydon

BLACKPOOL

Blackpool and Fleetwood tramway is 17.7km (11 miles) long and the UK's oldest surviving tram system. When it opened in 1885 it was the country's first permanent electric street tramway.

In 2009 work will start on major improvements to the system costing 85m and should finish in 2012. This will include replacing 3km (1.8 miles) of track, adding 16 new tramcars and building an electrical sub-station in Fleetwood.

About 30 of the existing vintage trams will be kept in service along Blackpool's famous seaside promenade.

MANCHESTER

The Metrolink opened in 1992 and was the first of a new generation of tram systems in Britain. It uses existing rail track but also runs through the streets of Manchester.

Metrolink has since been expanded and there are plans to invest another 19m to extend it to Salford and the BBC's new headquarters there.

Work is due to start in 2009, and four new trams have been ordered to double the frequency of daytime services into Salford Quays.

SHEFFIELD

Sheffield's original tramway system was closed in 1960, but after decades of debate, it was re-opened in 1994 as the publicly owned South Yorkshire Supertram.

Stagecoach Supertram, as it is now known, is owned by transport group Stagecoach and is 29km (18 miles) long, with 60km of track. Three lines operating on a mix of tramway track on the road and railway track radiate from Sheffield city centre to Middlewood, Meadowhall and Halfway.

In 2004 the government rejected proposals to extend the tram to Rotherham on cost grounds.

BIRMINGHAM

The Midland Metro service runs from Birmingham's Snow Hill station to Wolverhampton St George's along the A41.

It opened in 1999, cost an initial 140m and includes a 2km (1.2 miles) on-street section in its total route of 20km (12 miles). In 2003 it reported losses of 16.4m since it opened blaming high running costs and a lack of passengers.

In spite of this - and in the hope of attracting more people to use the tram - the system will be expanded to include an on-street extension through Birmingham city centre near Birmingham New Street Station, then to Five Ways via Broad Street and Edgbaston.

There will also be a branch from Wednesbury to the Merry Hill Shopping Centre and onto Brierley Hill town centre.

NOTTINGHAM

The Nottingham Express Transit runs from Nottingham station through Nottingham city centre to Hucknall to the north. It is the UK's newest tram system and opened in 2004 across a network of 14km (8.5 miles) after 16 years of planning and development,

Two new lines have been given government approval in a scheme costing more than 400m. They will run from the centre of the city to Clifton and to Chilwell and Beeston. Construction is set to start in 2010 with trams running by 2013.

It is hoped this will encourage local people to use public transport instead of cars, but campaigners oppose the extension on the grounds that the electricity it uses is produced by power stations that emit large amounts of greenhouse gasses.

CROYDON

Croydon Tramlink began operating in 2000 and carries about 22 million passengers a year over an 28km (18.5 miles) system covering parts of south London through a central loop in Croydon.

Tramtrack Croydon Ltd (TCL) operates the tramway, on licence from Transport for London, while the drivers and controllers are looked after by First Tram Operations Ltd (TOL).

TfL plans to extend the line to Anerley and Crystal Palace and if it gets government approval and funding, this would be completed in 2013.

CENTRAL LONDON - PROPOSED

There are plans to run a tram through central London between Euston and Waterloo with branches to Camden and Kings Cross in the north and Brixton and Peckham in the south.

Public consultation for the so-called Cross River Tram has shown a good deal of support for the project, which TfL hope to have running by 2016.

TfL has also put forward proposals for a route down Oxford Street between Marble Arch and Tottenham Court Road to open by 2012.

EDINBURGH - PROPOSED

Work has already started on a new Edinburgh tramway to replace the one that closed in 1956. Line 1a from Edinburgh Airport to Leith via the city centre will cost 498m to build and is due to open in 2011.

A spur from Haymarket to Granton, known as 1b, was put on hold when the tram plans were scaled back in 2006 amid fears that costs were spiralling out of control. Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (Tie) has now secured a fixed price of 87m to build the 1b line, if it can commit to the project before next spring.

Although the line has the green light from the Scottish government, it cannot go ahead unless Edinburgh City Council gives approval to a business plan. A second tram line has been proposed, which would complete the loop between Granton and Newhaven and extend the first line from Ingliston to Newbridge. However, it has not been given the go-ahead or funding.

London's Docklands Light Railway and the Tyne and Wear Metro are not included in this round-up because they are not tram systems sharing city streets with other vehicles.




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