Goodbye HS2 Hello To Leeds Trams2
The Government's announcement at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester this week finally places on hold high speed train service north of Birmingham (at least for the time being) and reactivates long held plans to recreate tram services in Leeds among various urban connectivity schemes in the north of England.
As someone who in fact had been a passenger on the very last Leeds tram to Temple Newsam in 1959 and witnessed the tailor end of Leeds trams over the preceding years - this week's statement brings back a sense of deja vu. Sadly we wont see a return of Felthams or Horsfield cars in drab red colours - and more likely further versions of articulated single deck models, but this time hopefully manufactured in the UK. Birmingham and the west Midlands are also promised further extensions to an already expanded network and ongoing newbuild routes. A great pity Liverpool and Merseyside are not likewise beneficiaries of the fallout from cancellation of the HS2 grandplan - and no doubt calls for Merseyside light rail will emerge once Leeds is seen to become a tramway city again.
Blackpool remains focussed on its very short street running extension to North Station which has proved to be a drawn out process even though track and overhead infrastructure have been in place since last year. The logical expansion of light rail service east to Layton and Victoria Hospital (taking in Blackpool Zoo and Stanley Park) and a southern extension of the coastal line beyond Starr Gate to the centre of St Annes remain very much pipe dreams of likeminded supporters. On the plus side BTS is set to become an all electric bus operator in the foreseeable future with its current fleet being further assigned to other users.