Warrington Council Considers Tram Network

Monday, March 11th, 2019 2:31pm

By Aran Dhillon - Local Democracy Reporter

Two international companies are ‘prepared’ to invest in Warrington and begin manufacturing trams – if the council commits to developing a tram network.

The draft local transport plan 4 (LTP4) will come before the executive board this evening, Monday.

The council has started to investigate a new ‘mass transit network’ for Warrington.

The authority’s study considers two possible modes for a mass transit solution – light rail/tram and bus rapid transit.

Jim Harkins, managing director of Light Rail UK, believes a new approach is needed to tackle major issues, such as congestion and pollution.

Light Rail UK, which is proposing a hydrogen-powered tram for Warrington, provides consultancy to the Government and local authorities to enhance their awareness of the advantages of light rail and tram networks.

Mr Harkins says there is ‘firm interest’ from two companies, a German firm and an American firm – although their names cannot be revealed for ‘commercial’ reasons.

“Both companies have been in negotiations with Light Rail UK,” he added.

“If Warrington commits to building a tramway using hydrogen technology, in conjunction with others, the American firm are prepared to set up an assembly base in Warrington.

“They say, if Warrington goes down the tram road, they will establish a tram manufacturing assembly base here.

“Once we get the trams in, it will virtually sweep through the country.

“And the German group, who are already established in the supply chain and are based down south, are prepared to relocate in south Warrington.”

The council says it is ‘very early’ in the process of identifying a mass transit network and, while the light rail/tram and bus rapid transit seem the ‘most likely’ modes at this point, other modes are not being ruled out.

The core of the proposed network would be a town centre routing system that provides linkage to the key hubs of Warrington Central, Bank Quay and the bus interchange.

It would integrate with the potential future HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail networks at Warrington Bank Quay, along with an enhanced rail offer at Warrington Central.

Last month, the council said it would be happy to engage with Light Rail UK again as part of the upcoming LTP4 consultation.

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