Bringing Trams Back

Articles, LondonUnlocked, New ProjectsEditorComment

200811170801.jpgThe Mayor's Way to Go document ended speculation that a further extension of the tram network would happen in London any time soon. As we said in our review of the document:

The Mayor needs to look sensibly now at bringing in the private sector to build, run, and then hand-over innovative projects when they become profitable. Being creative is now perhaps the Mayor's best chance of delivering any form of transport revolution for the capital, but to be so is a risk. Is Mr Johnson prepared to take it?

As the availability of fund tightens, the Mayor has to look to the private sector to take a lead in delivering and running of new transport projects. News comes today that a British firm is willing to step into the breach:

...a firm called TRAM Power – which is currently helping to promote a privately funded 13-mile tramway in Galway, Ireland, has claimed that both the Cross River Tram and the proposed Oxford Street Tram could be built "at no cost to the public purse".

TRAM Power says that it has undertaken an economic appraisal for both the Cross River Tram and Oxford Street tramway which shows that with some modifications to the Transport for London plans – costed at £1.3 billion – they could be built with private funding and operated commercially.

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Tram Power has extensive UK experience and has advised on projects as far a field as Salt Lake City. These are very early days, but now we wait to see how serious the Mayor was when he asked to see "the colour of [backer's] money" at the last Mayor's Question Time. If this project progresses, it could be an important precedent for other projects across London.