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Author Topic: Trams for Bristol (again) and Bath?  (Read 6913 times)
TonyK
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« on: February 19, 2021, 12:12:55 pm »

There has been many a false dawn in the saga of public transport in the West of England, so one could be forgiven for receiving this latest episode with a rolling of the eyes. But who knows? Something has to happen one day. Bristol 24/7 carries the story:

Quote
COULD A TRAM NETWORK BE ON THE CARDS FOR BRISTOL?
By ELLIE PIPE, Thursday Feb 18, 2021

The network of trams that once linked neighbourhoods across Bristol has long been consigned to the history books.

But it is a system that could be re-introduced as part of a new future vision for transport in the city currently being considered by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA» (West of England Combined Authority - about)).

Bath and Bristol Area Trams Association (BBATA) has spearheaded a campaign to introduce a tram or light rail system in the two cities and says its calls are now being “taken seriously” by the regional authority.

WECA has invested £1.5m to identify options for a mass transit system, which could be made up of several different types of transport.

One possible proposal on the table is to build a regional system (that could be tram, light rail or underground) with four main lines:

Line one: Along the route of the A4 from Temple Meads to Bath.
Line two: To North Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
Line three: Between Bristol Airport and Temple Meads.
Line four: Into east Bristol.
WECA’s Joint Local Transport Plan states: “Transformational infrastructure in the form of mass transit (e.g. light rail, tram, tram-train or underground) is identified for these corridors.

“This is necessary to provide a step change in the capacity and quality of public transport on the busiest corridors, that can respond to the significant forecast increase in trips across the region. It will also provide a more attractive alternative to trips by car. “

Feasibility work is underway to investigate how potential “mass transit corridors” could work, with the document acknowledging it will be “very challenging” to implement an ‘on-street’ system through certain areas.

The estimated cost of delivering WECA’s “transformational major schemes package” is £3bn-£5bn.

Welcoming the latest work, BBATA chair David Andrews said: “We have conclusively demonstrated that only a tram or light-rail system can deliver a low carbon, low pollution economic regeneration of our towns and cities.

“This has already been found to be the case in eight other UK (United Kingdom) cities, with trams or light-rail at the heart of the systems integrated with feeder buses for rural areas and lightly trafficked routes.”

Bristol’s transport woes and congestion levels have long been a source of frustration in the city, compounded by decades of inaction and underinvestment.

In 2017, mayor Marvin Rees first unveiled plans for an underground or mass transport system, saying such a network could be the answer to the city’s problems.

Four years on and plans for a mass transit system are now being firmed up by WECA as part of the regional transport plan.

It comes as pressure builds to provide a sustainable, cost-effective and reliable alternative to driving, with the clean air zone set to come into play at the end of October, from which time non-compliant private vehicles will be charged £9 a day to enter the city centre.

David and his fellow campaigners argue that while trams have a higher initial cost than buses, this is “more than repaid over their lifespan through much lower running costs, less pollution and “generally higher standards of service”.

BBATA representatives say they fully support the new vision from WECA and Bristol’s mayor and look forward to working with them to achieve the “long overdue initiative, at speed”.

WECA has said a variety of transport options are currently being assessed to understand which technologies might work best for the region.

Over the next few months, route options will be developed across Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire that have the potential to connect the highest volumes of people, city and town centres and employment hubs.

Following this early work, a public consultation will be held later in 2021.

Regional mayor Tim Bowles said: “I’m putting an end to decades of under-investment in our transport network to get our region moving. From our regional mass transit system, to our transformational MetroWest rail network and continued support for metrobus, we are providing the sort of sustainable transport network that a region like ours needs.

“All of this work, especially the mass transit system, is being based on the evidence of what is the most appropriate technologies for the West of England and my officers and I have been researching a variety of potential options for a number of years.”

No decisions on possible modes of transport have been made yet and WECA warns it is still too early to understand what a mass transit system might like.



The article goes over the usual pros and cons, and says that WECA is at last taking the idea seriously. My own inner septic thinks "Heard it all before", and the last grandiose plans ended up as a couple of new roads, a segregated expressway for the airport, and some bus lanes, so my expectations are low. The usual time for tram stories is August, though, and this is February. There are mayoral elections in the offing, of course, but this is at too early a stage to be of much use at the hustings. It is hot on the heels of Mayor Marvin's announcement of price suggestions for Bristol's clean air zone, and could be seen as a sugaring of that bitter pill, but the organisation promoting trams outside of WECA seems to be autonomous.

Bristol and Bath Area Tram Association has a website that looks a bit more professional than others I have seen over the years, although it is rather focussed on Bath.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2021, 12:38:47 pm »

Air Traffic Control is going to get concerned about all these pigs flying around over Bristol

They'll have to start shooting them down to make room for the flying taxis...

 Wink
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TonyK
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2021, 05:01:27 pm »

Air Traffic Control is going to get concerned about all these pigs flying around over Bristol

They'll have to start shooting them down to make room for the flying taxis...

 Wink

You are so cynical! So negative! And so right... Smiley
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2021, 05:49:12 pm »

Out of interest, why does Bristol get an '(again)' whilst Bath doesn't? Bath had a tram system which it disbanded in 1939, beating Bristol by two years. For a brief period both systems were run by the Bristol Tramways and Carriage Company, and there was even talk of connecting them... which is, one might say, a thought!
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2021, 05:55:41 pm »

Out of interest, why does Bristol get an '(again)' whilst Bath doesn't?

Perhaps because they were under consideration for Bristol on a previous occasion within living memory - from Wikipedai[/quote]

Quote
Bristol Supertram was a proposed light rail system for the Bristol and South Gloucestershire regions of England. In 2001, the project was given backing from the government to build a line that would link the city centre with the North Bristol region, but the project was cancelled in 2004.

but there was no consideration that I'm aware of for a Bath system at that time.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2021, 06:09:34 pm »

Out of interest, why does Bristol get an '(again)' whilst Bath doesn't?

Perhaps because they were under consideration for Bristol on a previous occasion within living memory - from Wikipedai

Quote
Bristol Supertram was a proposed light rail system for the Bristol and South Gloucestershire regions of England. In 2001, the project was given backing from the government to build a line that would link the city centre with the North Bristol region, but the project was cancelled in 2004.

but there was no consideration that I'm aware of for a Bath system at that time.

Hmm, well, in the discussion of the Avon Light Rail Transit Bill of 1989 Jerry Wiggin stated:

Quote
Further routes will aim to serve south Bristol and the area which have recently been incorporated, with parliamentary approval, in the new urban development corporation for Bristol. Advanced Transport for Avon, promoter of this and subsequent Bills, has also expressed its desire to serve the Avonmouth area and the city of Bath, whose particular traffic problems have now exceeded manageable levels.

So it has been considered before.
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TonyK
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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2021, 08:20:12 pm »

Out of interest, why does Bristol get an '(again)' whilst Bath doesn't? Bath had a tram system which it disbanded in 1939, beating Bristol by two years. For a brief period both systems were run by the Bristol Tramways and Carriage Company, and there was even talk of connecting them... which is, one might say, a thought!

Good question. The main reason is that I have never lived in Bath, but in my 41 years in Bristol, I saw three "serious" attempts to reintroduce trams. All of them would have hit the buffers had there been any, hence my "again". I wasn't there in 1941 when Bristol's last tram made its final half journey. Stick with me though - the two other places where I have spent five or more years of my life both have trams, so you never know.
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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2021, 08:30:12 pm »


Bristol and Bath Area Tram Association has a website that looks a bit more professional than others I have seen over the years, although it is rather focussed on Bath.

It is the Bath & Bristol Area Trams Association, not Bristol & Bath, because it was set up and is run by one activist in Bath, hence being Bath-focused, and until recently was just the Bath Area Trams Group. There has been a lively, public debate about their proposals for Bath over the last couple of years, and they seem to have recently expanded their territory to cover Bristol, no doubt because WECA» (West of England Combined Authority - about) hold the purse strings.
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johnneyw
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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2021, 09:07:39 pm »

Bristol to Bath trams?  Now there were two Bristol to Bath train lines, now just one.  The days of Railway mania saw route duplication with inevitability no more than one of them surviving.  Now with an already frequent and likely increasing Bristol- Bath railway service being due with Metrowest, should this be a priority? Especially if Temple Meads and Bath Spa get served eventually by each city's tram service?
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 10:27:18 pm by johnneyw » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2021, 11:44:56 pm »

A heavy rail service would at best serve four intermediate stations between Bristol and Bath, and even that would be challenging to timetable. A tram service broadly following the A4 could serve maybe 15 stops, and they'd be better located to serve local destinations.
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johnneyw
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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2021, 12:11:21 am »

A heavy rail service would at best serve four intermediate stations between Bristol and Bath, and even that would be challenging to timetable. A tram service broadly following the A4 could serve maybe 15 stops, and they'd be better located to serve local destinations.

Fair point that and I suppose it eases the dwell time at the already very busy Bath Spa if some of the Bristol-Bath rail passenger traffic moved to trams.
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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2021, 07:40:41 am »

A heavy rail service would at best serve four intermediate stations between Bristol and Bath, and even that would be challenging to timetable. A tram service broadly following the A4 could serve maybe 15 stops, and they'd be better located to serve local destinations.

Indeed.  There are other heavy rail corridors duplicated by trams so there is a precedent.
- Birmingham to Wolverhampton
- Nottingham to Hucknall
- Manchester to Rochdale
Each a different case, of course ...
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2021, 11:27:57 am »

Air Traffic Control is going to get concerned about all these pigs flying around over Bristol

They'll have to start shooting them down to make room for the flying taxis...

 Wink

You are so cynical! So negative! And so right... Smiley


Yes well...

The first time I heard about a proposed tram system for Bristol (or was it an underground metro system – can’t remember for certain now) in 1968 or 1969. Since then we have had umpteen schemes, some more hare-brained than others, for metro systems, tram systems, express bus systems (and look what happened to that), on a regular basis.

They often come along just before the City Council elections are due...

Now, leaving all this hyperbole to one side, what have we actually seen come to fruition since 1969?

Bristol Parkway station
Filton Junction closed and replaced with Abbey Wood
Reopening of Yate
Opening a new station at Cam and Dursley which almost, but not quite, is in place of Coaley Junction.

And also a lot of talk...

I’m sorry – I’ve heard it all before. I shall believe it when Marvin or one of his distant successors gets out there with his silver spade and cuts the first sod. Until then I will remain a cynic and poke fun from time to time.

And I do honestly hope that that statement comes back to bit me on the bum in years to come. The trouble is, it will probably be down to my great great great grandchildren to employ a medium to tell me  Wink


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Lee
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« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2021, 12:04:58 pm »

Air Traffic Control is going to get concerned about all these pigs flying around over Bristol

They'll have to start shooting them down to make room for the flying taxis...

 Wink

You are so cynical! So negative! And so right... Smiley


Yes well...

The first time I heard about a proposed tram system for Bristol (or was it an underground metro system – can’t remember for certain now) in 1968 or 1969. Since then we have had umpteen schemes, some more hare-brained than others, for metro systems, tram systems, express bus systems (and look what happened to that), on a regular basis.

They often come along just before the City Council elections are due...

Now, leaving all this hyperbole to one side, what have we actually seen come to fruition since 1969?

Bristol Parkway station
Filton Junction closed and replaced with Abbey Wood
Reopening of Yate
Opening a new station at Cam and Dursley which almost, but not quite, is in place of Coaley Junction.

And also a lot of talk...

I’m sorry – I’ve heard it all before. I shall believe it when Marvin or one of his distant successors gets out there with his silver spade and cuts the first sod. Until then I will remain a cynic and poke fun from time to time.

And I do honestly hope that that statement comes back to bit me on the bum in years to come. The trouble is, it will probably be down to my great great great grandchildren to employ a medium to tell me  Wink

Wot no Worle?...
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TonyK
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« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2021, 12:07:05 pm »


It is the Bath & Bristol Area Trams Association, not Bristol & Bath, because it was set up and is run by one activist in Bath, hence being Bath-focused, and until recently was just the Bath Area Trams Group. There has been a lively, public debate about their proposals for Bath over the last couple of years, and they seem to have recently expanded their territory to cover Bristol, no doubt because WECA» (West of England Combined Authority - about) hold the purse strings.

My bad. My apologies to all concerned, and thank you, froome, for pointing out my error. Bath does indeed have an excellent case in its own right, and has been a lot more vocal than any Bristol groups - if there still are any. Campaigning for better transport in Bristol has always been pushing the rock uphill, as indeed it has been in Uphill.

A heavy rail service would at best serve four intermediate stations between Bristol and Bath, and even that would be challenging to timetable. A tram service broadly following the A4 could serve maybe 15 stops, and they'd be better located to serve local destinations.

Indeed.  There are other heavy rail corridors duplicated by trams so there is a precedent.
- Birmingham to Wolverhampton
- Nottingham to Hucknall
- Manchester to Rochdale
Each a different case, of course ...

I am familiar with two of those, both of which use a former heavy rail alignment. I don't know Nottingham. Manchester to Rochdale via Oldham Mumps wasn't really a line from Manchester to Rochdale, more a line from Oldham to Manchester and Rochdale. The direct route from Manchester to Rochdale was much faster, but it did cater for a few intermediate stops. Same with Manchester Piccadilly to the airport - the heavy train is much faster, but the tram serves many residential areas. That point would certainly apply to Bristol - Bath by tram. If you were starting at Bath Spa and going to Temple Meads or vv, then the train is the obvious choice, and probably still so if you were heading for Brislington. Keynsham would depend on where you were in relation to the two modes. I used to work occasionally in Bath when I lived in Brislington. It was quicker (and less unpleasant) to catch the X39 to Temple Meads then jump on a train that it was to take the bus all the way.

Yes well...

The first time I heard about a proposed tram system for Bristol (or was it an underground metro system – can’t remember for certain now) in 1968 or 1969. Since then we have had umpteen schemes, some more hare-brained than others, for metro systems, tram systems, express bus systems (and look what happened to that), on a regular basis.

They often come along just before the City Council elections are due...

For me, the first iteration was ATA with Richard Cotterill at the helm, about 1980. The idea was good, but even then, I didn't think the finance model would work. The idea was to pay for it from the increased value of property along the route, and I couldn't see how you could do that without owning said property. The plan that bit the dust in 2005, with everyone blaming everyone else, came closest to happening. My own theory is that South Glos lost their nerve when it came to putting down the pen and picking up a shovel. Trams, and any other fanciful schemes, have long since ceased to be a vote-winner, although anyone who came along with a properly worked out and costed plan would have a huge advantage.

Quote
And I do honestly hope that that statement comes back to bit me on the bum in years to come. The trouble is, it will probably be down to my great great great grandchildren to employ a medium to tell me  Wink

Crazy, isn't it.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 02:04:15 pm by TonyK » Logged

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