West London Tram a step closer
Ken Livingstone and Ealing sign agreement committing them to scheme
The plan to build a tram system along the Uxbridge Road moved a step closer as Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and Ealing Borough Council�s cabinet member for planning and transport, Stephen Sears signed an agreement committing themselves to the project.
It is claimed that the new public transport system will benefit the 22 million passengers who currently use bus routes 207 and 607 along the Uxbridge Road, reduce reliance on the car and help to manage traffic congestion.
The proposed route runs from Uxbridge town centre in the west, along the Uxbridge Road through the centres of Hayes, Southall, Hanwell, West Ealing, Ealing, Acton and on to Shepherd�s Bush in the east.
Mr Livingstone said: �I welcome the commitment to the West London Tram scheme from one of the key boroughs along the route. The proposed tram would provide a safe, rapid way to travel through west London, boosting regeneration in the area, and our polling has shown it is enormously popular with local people. I look forward to working with Ealing on this important project for west London�.
The Mayor has recently said that he was 100% behind the project and that subject to funding being received it would definitely go ahead.
The scheme could relieve one of the busiest and most congested routes into London by providing a new efficient public transport option.
The electrically powered trams will be able to transport 300 people and there will be up to 45 stops along the 20km route with trams arriving at 3-6 minute intervals.
Stephen Sears said: �I am confident that this scheme is going to greatly improve more than just transport in west London. The tram project will not only provide benefits for the environment but also create economic gains for businesses along the Uxbridge corridor and enhance social cohesion in the community.�
Opposition to the tram had focused on the need to divert traffic off the Uxbridge Road and into residential areas because of 'pinch points' on the route where the road was too narrow to carry both the tram and general traffic. TfL engineers now believe that they have solved the problems of pinch points in all areas apart from Acton High Street but are optimistic that a workable solution can be found.
A borough-wide public consultation is planned for late spring/summer 2004 and an application is expected to be made to the government for powers to build, operate and maintain the scheme under the Transport and Works Act 1992.
TfL estimates the tram system will carry 50 million passengers a year, bring significant environmental benefits, encourage regeneration in the area and provide Londoners with better access to jobs. It is anticipated the scheme will be completed by 2011.
December 11, 2003