Plans for a new tramway in Preston get a boost after former railway station master's house is snapped up

Plans to plans to launch a new tramway for Preston have taken another step forward after the group behind it acquired new headquarters – and secured the future of a listed building in the process.

By Tim Gavell
Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 11:42 am
Updated Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 11:44 am

Preston Trampower has bought Station House, in Gamull Lane, a former station master’s house and booking office on the old Preston and Longridge railway line.

The company plans to use parts of the line for its proposed Guild Line tramway.

The company hopes to start work on a 200-metre demonstrator line in Deepdale this summer in advance of constructing the Guild Line which would feature 12 stops and run from the M6 at Red Scar into the city’s University Quarter.

Lincoln Shields of Preston Trampower outside the former station masters house at Gamull Lane which the company has bought

Lincoln Shields, director of Preston Trampower, said: “We have been looking for a permanent HQ for some time. As we will be bringing parts of the former Preston and Longridge railway back into use as a sustainable tramway, we couldn’t have wished for a more fitting building than Station House.

“It gives us a presence in the very community where we are looking to bring forward the Guild Line and we look forward to the day where this building will once again see passengers going by its windows.

“We already have a contractor clearing the site in front of the building and will be undertaking a significant internal refurbishment as well as external landscaping over the coming weeks. This is great news for the local community as it secures the future of this important building and prevents is slipping into disrepair.”

The £25m Guild Line will be funded privately and will be Preston’s first operational tram route in over 80 years.

Mr Shields with one of the trams that could run on the Preston line

It aims to link communities along the route with UCLan, the city centre and the industrial and commercial sites to the north east of the city.

Trams would run every six minutes in both directions along the line’s 5km length. Preston Trampower said more than 18,000 people live within 500 metres of the line’s 12 proposed stops and estimates 1.8 million passenger journeys a year would be made.

The company has already appointed Eric Wright Civil Engineering to construct its demonstrator line between Skeffington Road and West View Leisure Centre.

This will progress once the company has concluded discussions with Network Rail over access agreements to the line.

Lincoln Shields added: “It’s been a long, eventful journey since our plans were first revealed just over a decade ago, but we are now making real progress and we’re very confident that work will start on the demonstrator line this year.

“Now more than ever, Preston needs green, sustainable transport and this is a perfect example of an infrastructure project that can help the city get back on its feet after the pandemic.”

Station House dates from the mid-19th century when Britain’s railways were enjoying a golden era. The two-storey sandstone building features prominent moulded gutter cornices, sash windows and corniced gable chimney stacks.

The building was most recently used as a private dwelling. Preston Trampower has appointed architects Smithers Purslow to help it plan the refurbishment of the listed building.