Plan for Preston tramline gains momentum

A plan to reintroduce passenger trams to the city of Preston for the first time in 85 years is one step closer after Preston Trampower won planning approval to build a demonstrator line.

The company has gained planning consent for a 200-metre long section of line using part of the old Longridge railway between Skeffington Road and West View Leisure Centre in Ribbleton.

The demonstrator line will include new track, overhead lines and a new station platform, as well as new lighting and an adjacent cycleway and footpath.

It is hoped that work will begin early next year, with demonstration rides to stakeholders and other interested parties beginning later in 2021.

The trams are part of a wider plans to introduce a 5km long Guild Line running from the M6 motorway at Junction 31A, down the line of the old Longridge railway, through Ribbleton and Deepdale into the heart of the city centre’s University Quarter.

Around 18,000 Preston residents live within half a kilometre of a tram stop on the proposed route. Trams would run at six-minute intervals for most of the day with an estimated 1.8 million tram trips made annually.

A planning application for the wider £25m Guild Line project is expected to be submitted in 2021. The project will be privately funded. Cheshire-based Snowball Alternative Finance has been appointed to seek ‘green’ investment funding from its network of high-net-worth individuals and entrepreneurs.

Lincoln Shields, a director of Preston Trampower, said: "Our plans to bring clean and sustainable tram services back to Preston have been a long time in the making and we are really gathering momentum now.

"Preston is one of England’s fastest growing cities and a modern tram system would deliver huge benefits for the city, unlocking economic growth and offering safe, clean and reliable transport. We’re thrilled to have secured planning consent for our demonstration line which will help people to see first-hand how it can enhance and regenerate the city."

PWA Planning has advised Preston Trampower on the planning application and Eric Wright Civil Engineering will undertake the work to complete the demonstration section of the line.

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