Eric Wright Group appointed Preston tram project worth £25m
Eric Wright Group appointed Preston Tram project worth £25m
Preston Trampower Ltd has reached agreement with Eric Wright Civil Engineering to build the 3.5-mile tramway, starting with a 1,250-metre-long pilot line in the Deepdale area of the city.
Both parties signed a memorandum of understanding to develop the scheme during a sod-cutting ceremony on the tramway site.The first stage of the project will see the pilot line built on a stretch of the former Longridge to Preston railway with work expected to get underway by March 2018.
A second phase of the line which aims to link the city centre with employment sites on the edge of the city is subject to a planning application being submitted this year.
While the pilot line will initially be limited to free demonstration rides and staff training, the service could welcome its first paying passengers as early as 2019 if the plans are approved this year.
The pilot line will see a length of the former railway between Skeffington Road and Deepdale Street reinstated. A new tram station, platform and tram shed is being built, helping to clean-up the currently derelict and neglected land.
Under the longer-term plans for the Guild Line, the service would have 12 stops on key sites in the city including Deepdale Shopping Park, Preston North End FC’s Deepdale stadium, and later the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
Six trams would run at six minute intervals for most of the day and Preston Trampower forecast that 1.8 million tram trips should be made annually on the Guild Line, reducing congestion and pollution.
It would utilise existing railway infrastructure for most of its length, switching to an LR55 system where it meets the road network. The LR55 track system ‘glues’ into the road surface and doesn’t require large-scale excavation work.
Preston Trampower has already lined up private investment to deliver the infrastructure for the tram service, as well as additional funds for the leasing of trams.