Monday, April 23, 2018

Leicester Conservatives fall out over promise of a tram system

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It's quite something to have a split over your local election manifesto when you have only one councillor, but Leicester's Conservatives have managed it.

Last week I blogged about their election promise of a tram system from the city that would reach as far as Market Harborough.

Today, reports the Leicester Mercury, the city's only Tory councillor, Ross Grant, poured cold water on the idea:
“Nobody mentioned it to me. I wasn’t consulted at all. 
“If somebody had, they would have been told that I have been consistently against having a tram system in Leicester. 
“It would be horrifically expensive. 
“There are far less expensive ways of trying to deal with traffic and pollution problems. 
“You could get an entire fleet of hydrogen-fuelled buses which would have the advantage of taking people to where they actually want to go rather than just along a rail route. 
“Within my ward I don’t see how you could run a tram track down Welford Road. 
“The disruption would be immense.
It would be great to see trams back in Leicester, but I suspect this is the last we shall hear of the idea from the Tories for a while.

If they want to revive it one day, they will need to produce detailed plans. All we had from them this time is the report of a conversation at a photo opportunity with Chris Grayling.

1 comment:

Phil Beesley said...

I hope that the planners and engineers who worked on recent UK tram and light railway systems feel able to talk about their work honestly. All systems have displayed problems during installation -- I'd just like to understand how and why things work out.

Ross Grant: “Within my ward I don’t see how you could run a tram track down Welford Road." But people have said exactly the same thing about bus lanes.

A trickier consideration is that people in Leicester and the suburbs live and work in different places to the ones connected by wide main roads -- routes used by trams years ago. Nottingham's tram network shows an awful lot of hill dodging but it goes to places where homes have been built post-WWII; it doesn't try to replace bus routes. A Leicester tram network which reached Oadby, Wigston or Blaby would follow some strange routes.