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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 September 2007, 06:43 GMT 07:43 UK
Trams would prompt city's 'boom'
Rob Speht by a tram in Nottingham
Rob Speht said trams had freed up roads in cities like Nottingham
A campaign to bring back trams is due to be launched in the city which boasted the world's first passenger railway.

The Mumbles Railway opened in 1807 to connect the east and west of Swansea, but was dismantled in 1960.

Councillor Rob Speht believes reintroducing trams to the area could help solve congestion problems.

He is leading a campaign to persuade Swansea City Council to look at options for bringing back the service.

Mr Speht, a Liberal Democrat councillor, said: "There is evidence from around the world that cities that make the effort to build a tram system, experience an economic, cultural and social boom as the city is opened up again."

Swansea already suffers with some congestion and we have a billion pounds worth of development in the pipeline
Rob Speht

The idea of replacing the train has been mooted several times in the past following the dismantling of the line almost 50 years ago.

Back in 2004, Mr Speht chaired a council committee which looked into the possibility of reintroducing it.

Then the cost was estimated as up to 100m, but Mr Speht said the work was abandoned after the committees were reorganised in 2006.

He said now the council should look at a wider route area to include Baglan, Port Talbot and Llanelli, estimating this would put the cost at around 300m.

Mr Speht said looking at how other successful tram services in UK cities had been funded, the local authority may have to put forward between 1-2m per year over 10 years for internal costs.

These would include planning permission and public inquiries, with the rest met by private finance.

Mumbles railway
The Mumbles railway was dismantled almost 50years ago

He said: "Cities like Nottingham have found that a new tram system frees up the roads and enables residents to travel in and out of the city to work, study, shop and access services without the need of owning a car and the hassle of driving and parking."

However, the Swansea Metro is due to launch in 2008 which will see 110-seater StreetCars taking to the city streets.

The "bendy buses" have been described by Swansea Council as a cross between a bus and tram, and are being introduced to cut congestion.

Mr Speht said trams could be gradually introduced to complement the buses, and could be put rails along the dedicated bus lanes.




SEE ALSO
Mumbles railway was 'remarkable'
25 Mar 07 |  South West Wales
City streets change for bendy bus
21 Apr 06 |  South West Wales
City secures streetcar funding
10 Mar 06 |  South West Wales
Swansea looks at tram return
08 Oct 04 |  South West Wales

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