Green light for extended tramway

By Lancashire Business View

04 Dec 2017

Blackpool Council has been given government approval for a £22m extension to its tramway.

The new work would reach from the resort's North Pier to Blackpool North Railway Station, and the cost of the project includes two new trams.

Lancashire Enterprise Partnership gave the project a green light earlier in the year and the Secretary of State has followed suit. Work is expected to be completed and the extension open in 2019.

The project will also form part of a larger regeneration effort at Blackpool North train station, which will include a new tramway terminal, a four star Holiday Inn and office and retail units to let.

Cllr Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “This is excellent news and is a huge step forward in continuing to regenerate the Talbot Gateway, creating more jobs for people in Blackpool and creating a stronger economy for everybody in the town.

“Almost two million journeys go through Blackpool North train station every year and rail journeys to the resort are growing. This extension will not only capitalise on the electrification and growth in rail travel but it will make journeys for residents, commuters and visitors from the train station much easier."

“The extension will also work as a linchpin at the centre of the second phase of the Talbot Gateway. We have already come so far and the view that meets visitors coming out of the station now is massively improved from what was there in the past."

Jane Cole, managing director of Blackpool Transport Services which operates the tramway service, added: “What a boost for Blackpool this will be.

“Not only will the tramway extension have huge benefits for locals and commuters moving around the town it will also massively improve access for visitors coming in to Blackpool by train

“Two extra Flexity2 trams will allow us to cope with the extra demand and add on the extra services needed, which is also a huge bonus.”

Last year, passenger journeys on Blackpool trams increased by 3.9 per cent, while passenger revenue increased by 15.4 per cent, with a total of 5.1m journeys taking place in 2016/17.

The 11 mile tramway re-opened in 2012 following a major £101m replacement of the track, creation of a new tram depot and arrival of 16 new Flexity2 trams. The new trams have level boarding, making them accessible for all disabled users, allowing for faster journey times and a more energy efficient service. At the same time, the previous stock of heritage trams still run as a tourist attraction along the same network during the summer and for special events during the winter.

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