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Approval for 100m tram upgrade

10 June 09 11:35 GMT

A multi-million pound upgrade of the Blackpool seafront tram system has finally been approved.

The £100m refurbishment of the line to Fleetwood will bring the 120-year-old network up to modern standards, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.

Its 16 new trams, replacement track and extra stops will improve journey times and accessibility, officials say.

Plans for the upgrade, first revealed in February 2008 at a cost of £85m, have just been granted full approval.

This investment comprises £68.3m from the DfT and £33.4m from Blackpool Council and Lancashire County Council.

Ministers say it will build on the current regeneration of the town whilst improving access to the Fylde coast.

Transport minister Sadiq Khan approved the scheme in one of his first tasks in his new role.

"Trams have been running in Blackpool for over 100 years - I hope this funding will mean the historic, world-famous Tramway can continue to run well into the future," he said.

The tramway, which is owned by Blackpool Council, has been operating since 1885.

Speaking on the seafront, leader of Blackpool Council, Peter Callow, said it was a "great day for Blackpool".

"Blackpool has a fantastic tram heritage and this funding will ensure that our tram network has a great future too.

"By Easter 2012 we will have ultra modern trams providing an efficient public transport network for both residents and visitors without sacrificing our wonderful heritage trams."

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