Tram system demo could be in place soon

Plans to run a Preston tram demonstration could be on the move within a month, scheme bosses has said.

Tram Power, based in Bootle, wants to build a 100m network running from Preston to three park and rides at Portway, Walton-le-Dale and Bluebell Way.

But first they are hoping to have a demonstrator line from behind West View Leisure Centre to the entrance to the Miley Tunnel – a journey of 1.25km – in place this year.

The demonstrator, which will run along part of the disused Longridge rail line, is partly dependent on Network Rail agreeing to sign over a lease to part of the track, while the rest of the line is in the ownership of Preston Council.

Lincoln Shields, of Tram Power, says discussions are progressing well and an agreement with Network Rail could be reached within a month, allowing the project to go ahead.

He said: "The line to Red Scar is the one we are putting the most emphasis on and we got at a meeting with Network Rail an update on their progress in giving the lease to us for a section of the disused line.

"That seems to be going quite smoothly and most of the balance of the land is in Preston Council's ownership.

"We are encouraged by Network Rail's position. Everything seems to be going smoothly for Red Scar."

The demonstrator would only run to the portal of the Miley Tunnel because it would initially use older trams which are not suitable for running through the tunnel itself.

The company hopes to have lines to the three park and rides in place for 2012, with the line to the Red Scar area and the park and ride there the first priority.

Mr Shields said that line would definitely include a stop at the Deepdale Retail Park and various housing estates on the way to the city centre.