Blackpool is the setting for a long overdue conference on light rail and its implications for the Fylde coast to be held on the 18th February at the Imperial Hotel venue from 0900. Organised and hosted by the LRTA - the Conference coordinator is Sam Flynn whose role and efforts have been focussed on the south Fylde railway and extending Blackpool's light rail service beyond its truncated terminus next to the sand hills at Starr Gate.
Paris and the first of the new generation of tram routes (T1) which are intended to encircle the city entirely, linking outer suburbs and the Paris Metro and regional rail lines running into the centre. This strategy which began thirty years ago is nearing completion with deliveries of new trams (all built in France naturally) providing clean quiet travel with low platforms as shown and disability access throughout. The early type above has been superseded by 100% low floor designs built by Alstom - as well as tramtrains in several locations. These are being further expanded in collaboration with the SNCF railway company and a specialist business unit set up to expand on initial ventures. Image : John Woodman
Since the opening of the T1 line to Bobigny and subsequent extensions, most French urban centres have similarly taken up building new tramways as part of a national strategy. Whereas the UK thus far has managed to introduce light rail/trams to Nottingham, Manchester, Croydon, Sheffield, Edinburgh, West Midlands/Birmingham and upgrade Blackpool - France has well over twenty-five new urban light rail systems in operation of which just three involved retaining existing tram systems (Lille, St Etienne, Marseille - all of which survived with just one main route in the postwar era).
The Blackpool conference includes Speakers from different organisations including Jane Cole, MD of BTS and covers topical issues including tramtrain operation, micro trams, the Poulton to Fleetwood line and of course the south Fylde railway as well as heritage trams. Its importance is particularly relevant to transport planners and professionals, as well as local euthorities (including Lancashire County Council and the City of Preston).
A full day's programme assures a wide breadth of coverage by participating contributors and is highly recommended to those with interest (and involvement) in strengthening connectivity in the Fylde for residents and visitors. The contact to get hold of on the event is Sam Flynn, LRTA Member and conference coordinator at : firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07869 593676