Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by the Passenger Transport Executive Group (PTEG) (RT 34)


  1.1  This Memorandum has been prepared by the Passenger Transport Executive Group (PTEG) which represents the six English and one Scottish Passenger Transport Executives together with London Transport. PTEG members play a major role in many aspects of public transport provision in metropolitan areas and serve a total population of about 18 million people.

  1.2  PTEG has led the development of Light Rapid Transit (LRT) systems in Great Britain. Almost all the new generation systems built or developed in the past 25 years have been promoted by PTEG members including Tyne and Wear Metro, Docklands Light Railway, Greater Manchester Metrolink, South Yorkshire Supertram, Midland Metro and Croydon Tramlink. PTEG members have also been closely involved with the development of other forms of Light Rapid Transit including guided busways and innovative systems.

  1.3  Since the early 1970s, PTEs have acquired the greatest body of knowledge and experience of Light Rapid Transit in the United Kingdom. In the course of developing these varied schemes, they have visited and studied a wide range of Light Rapid Transit systems around the world as well as gaining direct experience through planning, financing, implementing and, in some cases, operating these systems. Table 1 shows the range of LRT projects which have been undertaken by PTEs since 1970.

  1.4  The constituent members of PTEG are submitting evidence separately on their specific schemes, the problems they have faced and the success achieved. They will describe their own LRT systems in more detail, as appropriate. This evidence addresses issues of common concern to the Group and in particular the fourth topic which the Transport Sub-Committee wishes to investigate, namely:

    "whether it is appropriate, and if so what help can be given, to assist the growth of rapid transit schemes in the United Kingdom".

  1.5  The term "Light Rapid Transit" embraces a wide spectrum of fixed track systems which may be rubber tyred (bus based) or rail based and includes proprietary track based automated systems. The large majority of LRT systems built around the world utilise light rail technology but this Memorandum also covers other modes, sometimes referred to as "intermediate capacity systems".

  1.6  This evidence discusses the need for LRT, the range of technical approaches that can be considered, the availability of market research, the importance of a comprehensive strategy and some key issues facing the growth of LRT schemes. Finally some conclusions are drawn and recommendations made.


  The increasing levels of traffic congestion and environmental pollution, particularly in urban areas, demand major changes in the modal split for many journeys. Experience over the past few decades has shown that attracting car users to transfer to buses is very difficult, although a few recent examples, which involve comprehensive quality improvement and exclusive branding, eg Bus Showcase route 33 in Birmingham and the Leeds guided bus routes, indicate that some changes can be achieved. Light rail systems have shown that they can attract car users in substantial numbers because they offer a level of speed, reliability and comfort that is not easily matched by any other mode, at least for journeys into or through a city or regional centre.

  2.2  Until about 20 years ago, most urban public transport in the UK was by bus or conventional train. The large majority of public transport journeys were, and still are, by bus, (except in London). This contrasted with European and north American cities where there is a broader range of transit modes including buses, trolleybuses, trams, light rail systems, metros and surburban rail. Electrically powered systems with a high level of segregation from road traffic have clearly demonstrated their ability to retain and attract passengers in the face of increasing car ownership. This characteristic is urgently needed in Britain and it is therefore highly appropriate to consider how to assist the growth of rapid transit schemes in the United Kingdom.

  2.3  The need for a transit mode which offers higher quality service than the bus, but at a cost significantly less than heavy rail systems and full metros, was recognised by PTEG members in the 1970s. They were also aware of developments in a number of European cities and in north America which had successfully strengthened their public transport networks by constructing new LRT lines or extending existing systems. This led to planning of new systems in the 1980s which are now in operation, with more lines planned.

  2.4  The extent of new LRT systems in the UK is still very limited. The scope for extensions to existing systems, and creation of more new systems is very great. In other forms of LRT such as intermediate capacity modes can be developed, with lower capacity than light rail and lower capital costs, then the scope will be even wider, extending to medium sized towns and cities, and circumferential movements in larger cities. The need to combat congestion and adverse environmental impacts in those areas is as urgent as it is in the large conurbations.


  3.1  Light rapid transit may be defined as "a public transport system which is mainly segregated from other traffic, running within or adjacent to the highway, or on separate rights of way, with an average speed of at lease 20 kilometres per hour and a capacity in the range of 1,000 to 15,000 passengers per hour per direction.". The range of types of LRT system is wide and varied and no definitions can be absolute.

Light rail

  3.2  The most common form of LRT is light rail with over 300 systems worldwide, over 60 of which have been built in the past 20 years including six in the UK. Light rail spans the range from street tramway to light metro and may include varying proportions of route on highway alignments, railway alignments, private rights of way, tunnels or elevated tracks. They may be fully segregated from other traffic, including pedestrians, or may operated in mixed traffic or through pedestrian areas. All of these characteristics may be found in the LRT systems developed by the PTEs. Some system statistics for PTE light rail systems are given in Table 2.

  3.3  It is this flexibility in being able to utilise any of these alignment types which has made light rail the most popular choice for new urban systems, coupled with the ability to negotiate steeper gradients and tighter curves than conventional railways. However the relatively high capital cost, and the high passenger volumes needed to justify them, make investigation of potentially lower cost forms of LRT worthwhile in appropriate circumstances.

  3.4  Light rail technology has developed continuously from the earliest days of street tramways and is now advanced and well proven. Recent developments are the widespread use of low floor trams giving easier access at street stops, shared track with heavy rail allowing use of high speed surburban alignments coupled with city centre street running and the use of computer technology in control systems and passenger information systems. Some of these features are transferable to other forms of LRT.

Other forms of LRT

  3.5  Other forms of light rapid transit include:

    —  busway;

    —  guided busway—kerb guidance;

    —  guided busway—electronic guidance;

    —  guided light transit (GLT)—central rail guidance;

    —  automated guideway transit;

    —  monorails;

    —  peoplemovers.

  3.6  The first four categories are in effect different forms of busway. Two key characteristics are the form of guidance and the form of power supply. The guidance and power supply options may be combined in different ways. For guidance, the options are manual steering, kerb guidance, electronic guidance or central rail guidance. For power supply, the options are internal supply (clean diesel, LPG, CNG, or battery) or external supply (overhead electric cables). Stored energy using, for example, a flywheel may be combined with some options and hybrid systems combining two different power sources can be used, for example diesel and electric as in the "duobus".

Busways and guided busways

  3.7  Busways and manually steered buses are "bus only roads" on a larger scale. The only major UK example is the Runcorn Busway, built in the early 70s to serve a new town development. Its success in retaining patronage has been limited although bus use is 20 per cent above the UK average. A busway in Paris links southern suburban areas on a circumferential route. Busways have been built in a number of cities in north and south America, notably in Curitiba, Brazil where 270 passenger double articulated buses operate with high platform stops to give level boarding.

  3.8  Kerb guided buses are fitted with small horizontal guide wheels which run a vertical "rail" or high kerb. They can be driven manually when not on the guideway. There are two kerb guided busway examples in the UK, in Ipswich and Leeds. The Ipswich scheme has a very short, but operationally crucial, section of guideway in a suburban centre. The Leeds scheme has more extensive sections of guided busway on a radial corridor (Scott Hall Road) linking the northern suburbs to the city centre. Bus patronage has grown by at least 40 per cent including some transfer from car. A park and ride site is located at an outer terminus. A second route to serve the York Road corridor is being developed. Plans are well advanced for a guided busway in Edinburgh linking the Airport and eastern sector of the city to the city centre. Another project is the Leigh Busway in Greater Manchester using in part a former rail alignment and existing highway alignment between Leigh and Manchester city centre. Powers are to be sought later this year. The Chester-Deeside system is at a similar stage of development.

  3.9  The only examples of kerb guided buses are in Essen and Mannheim in Germany and Adelaide in Australia. Essen also provided an example of dual power (diesel and trolleybus or "duobus") sharing tracks with light rail and operating in tunnel. However this part of the system no longer operates. There is therefore limited experience of kerb guided bus operation but the technology is relatively cheap and simple to install, making it potentially attractive. It does require a substantial investment in track to support the vehicle loadings which are concentrated on "rails" as for any rail based system.

  3.10  Electronic guidance uses a wire buried in the road surface with special steering equipment on the vehicle. The only operational example is the service tunnel through the Channel Tunnel which is not passenger carrying but has worked technically as far as can be ascertained. It is however in a protected environment which is very different from operation on urban streets. The only limited trial for street running operation was undertaken in Newcastle but the scheme was not pursued.

  3.11  The first application of electronic guidance on a busway will be the Millennium Transit currently under construction to serve the Millennium Dome at Greenwich. This will provide valuable operational experience. A more extensive proposal for electronically guided trolleybuses in Liverpool was not approved by the Secretary of State this year following the recommendation of the inspector at a public inquiry although guidance was not a significant factor in the decision.

  3.12  Another form of electronic guidance is being developed in Italy, known as "Stream", which combines under road power supply with electromagnetic guidance. It is about to be tested in Trieste.


  3.13  Guided light transit (GLT) is a rubber tyred guided system with double articulated vehicles which can operate on normal roads with manual guidance, using diesel power, or on a guideway with a single central guiderail, using overhead electric power supply. Developed in Belgium, GLT has been tested on a 1.5km section of the 12.5 km Trans-Val-de-Marne busway in Paris. It has covered 30,000 kms and carried 240,000 passengers. Trials of other similar systems are planned on this site. The first permanent applications will be in the French cities of Caen and Nancy.

Automated forms of LRT

  3.14  Monorails and peoplemovers are normally only found in specialist applications such as airports, shopping centres and entertainment centres. They are unlikely to have any significant advantage over other modes for urban public transport applications. Automated guideway transit also has limited application because of its relatively high capital cost. These forms of LRT all require proprietary track forms and must, because of their automatic operation, be fully segregated and grade separated from any pedestrian or vehicular movements. This usually means that the tracks are elevated, making access more difficult and visual intrusion a potential problem in urban areas.

Operational characteristics

  3.15  A key factor in the success of any LRT system is the extent to which it can be segregated from road traffic and its operation safeguarded from the effects of traffic congestion. This can be achieved with any of the forms of LRT described above, but the methods adopted depend on the technical characteristics of the mode.

  3.16  Busways are normal carriageways and can therefore be provided wherever a new road can be constructed or an existing road reserved for buses. They can physically be used by other road vehicles however and rigorous enforcement is therefore required. Kerb guided busways can only be used by vehicles fitted with guide wheels and are inherently self-enforcing. They do however require exclusive use of land which may be difficult to proivde where urban space is restricted. Electronic guidance can be installed in any carriageway surface and may therefore be provided on a segregated busway or within the highway. In either case it is necessary to construct either concrete "rails" or heavy duty pavement to accommodate the vehicle loadings. The same charactersitics apply to GLT as the central guide rail is level with the road surface, as for a tramway.

  3.17  Any form of busway, whether guided or not, has the characteristic that vehicles can operate on the segregated route sections or on normal highway. They can therefore branch off the main corridor to provide direct services to a number of different areas. This may reduce access time (walking) and/or interchange time but needs to be balanced against lower frequencies which could increase waiting times.

  3.18  The capacity of a busway is a function of the vehicle type and service headways. It is also influenced by the availability of overtaking lanes at stops, the method of fare collection and the boarding and alighting arrangements. Vehicles may be 12m rigid, 18m articulated or up to 25m double articulated (the latter would require special authorisation in the UK). A comparaive study in France by RATP quotes a maximum of 1,600 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd) for conventional buses and 2,000 pphpd for articulated buses. The UK Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) has quoted a much higher figure of 7,000 pphpd. This is however a theoretical figure while the RATP figure is based on operating experience. For GLT, the RATP quote a figure of between 1,600 pphpd and 3,000 pphpd while CPT quote 7,000 pphpd.

  3.19  Line capacity will also depend on the extent of the guideway sections and the levels of priority given to the system on the non-segregated sections, the stop spacing, vehicle performance characteristics and geometric design of the alignment. Typical capacities may be given as between 1,000 and 4,000 pphpd for a busway and between 1,000 and 15,000 pphpd or light rail. Average journey speeds will also vary according to the characteristics of the route and the vehicles but may be typically in the range 18 km/h to 25 km/h for busways or light rail.

Comparative costs

  3.20  The capital costs of the existing light rail systems in the UK are shown in Table 3. (It should be noted that the price bases are not consistent and precise comparisons should not be drawn). Typical construction costs for light rail are in the range £5 million/km to £10 million/km depending on the extent of new alignment and the civil engineering content. If substantial lengths of elevated track or tunnel are required, as for the Docklands Light Railway, then much higher figures apply, in the region of £30 million/km or more. Where an existing rail line is converted to light rail, costs may be lower than £5 million/km depending on condition and suitability of the existing line.

  3.21  For bus based LRT, the most authoritative source of cost data is a study undertaken for London Transport in 1997 entitled "Rapid Transit on Rubber Tyres". This gives the costs as set out in Table 4. The figures for existing roads do not include the cost of reconstructing the carriageway which will increase the cost significantly. It is understood that the cost of the proposed City of Edinburgh Rapid Transit (CERT) kerb guided busway is about £5 million/km and the cost of the Merseyside Rapid Transit electronically guided busway would have been about £4million/km which suggests that the difference in cost between guided busway and light rail may not be as great as previously thought. However this conclusion should be treated with some caution as the projected costs for CERT and Merseytravel Rapid Transit are fully comprehensive including depots, Park and Ride, land, property etc.


Form of guidance Vehicle costs Infrastructure costs per km of double track

Kerb guidanceStandard bus or trolleybus plus £5,000 £1.6 million
Electronic guidanceStandard bus or trolleybus plus £15,000 to £25,000 £0.2 million on existing road
£1.4 million on new road
GLT (central rail guidance)Special vehicle at £1.1 million £1.4 million on existing road
£2.1 million on new road


Attractiveness of light rail and busways

  4.1  There is a lack of comprehensive data on market research into the comparison of different LRT modes. This is largely because there are very few examples of systems other than conventional light rail on which people can draw experience. A number of stated preference surveys have been undertaken using photographs, sketches or other information about different modes and this tends to show a strong preference for light rail. However until there are more extensive systems based on busway technology it will be difficult to obtain meaningful data.

  4.2  The attractiveness of any form of transport is determined by two factors:

    —  the pure transport characteristics of the journey it can offer: walking time, waiting time, in vehicle time and fare;

    —  the quality characteristics associated with the mode.

  The transport characteristics will be determined by critical factors such as the degree of priority and the method of operation as well as service frequency and stop spacing. The form of guidance and traction power are likely to be less significant. Light rail is likely to have superior characteristics in terms of acceleration, deceleration and speed, but bus based systems may offer shorter walking distances and through journeys, albeit with longer waiting times.

  4.3  Experience in Manchester shows that light rail attracts more passengers than would be expected on the basis of the transport characteristics alone. Very little is known about the reasons for this although studies are under way which will address this. Possible reasons may be:

    —  light rail can be seen to be permanent;

    —  service networks are relatively simple to understand;

    —  it gives a smoother ride from the combination of electric traction and rail guidance;

    —  it can be promoted as environmentally friendly;

    —  it appears to be "culturally" acceptable amongst all socio-economic groups to an extent that the bus has yet failed to be.

  4.4  These factors, and others, may be reflected in a "modal constant" to describe this difference. In a recent report to GMPTE, consultants Steer Davies Gleave estimated that the modal constant for any guided bus system would be about half that for light rail. This is based on stated preference work but no details are available. The impact that this would have on patronage would depend on the other factors in the modal choice equation.

  4.5  A research project to examine how successful non-light rail systems would be in achieving commercial and planning objectives was carried out for DETR by Transport and Environmental Planning. The results have not as yet been published but are understood to be inconclusive. A further study has now been commissoned, funded jointly by DETR, PTEG and others. Some modelling approaches are being considered. Depending on the results of these studies, further work may be needed.

Modal split effects

  4.6  It is difficult to obtain detailed data on the modal split effects of LRT. A study for the UITP Light Rail Commission in 1998 showed that the proportion of all public transport passengers who previously used cars averaged over 34 systems was 11 per cent. In Nantes it was 37 per cent and in San Diego 50 per cent, both cities with new light rail systems. In Karlsruhe the conversion of a suburban rail line to LRT and its extension into the city centre resulted in an increase in patronage of 400 per cent, 40 per cent of whom were former car users. In Manchester it is estimated that the first Metrolink line removed 2 million car journeys and reduced traffic levels on the parallel main roads by between 2 per cent and 8 per cent. In Sheffield, more than 20 per cent of passengers on Supertram previously travelled by car.

  4.7  There is clear evidence that high quality public transport in the form of light rail can attract car users. There is more limited data in regard to other forms of LRT, mainly because there are very few systems on which to base any evidence. There is a need for a programme of carefully monitored demonstration projects for other forms of LRT to establish their transport characteristics in terms of attractiveness to potential users. Stated preference studies, as adopted by a number of promoting authorities, are helpful but are no substitute for measuring actual performance of real systems in passenger service.

  4.8  A demonstration project programme would also enable comparisons to be made of system costs, both capital and operating, to assess whether more expensive technology is more effective in influencing modal split than bus based systems. At present it would seem that light rail, while relatively expensive, can produce significant changes in travel habits. It is as yet unknown whether an electrically powered guided bus system, for example, could achieve similar results at lower costs. The rejected Merseyside Rapid Transit project would have been an excellent example of such a project and would have yielded valuable information on modal split effects, costs and operating experience to assist planning of similar schemes in other cities.


  5.1  Any fixed track system requires a major investment in infrastructure and will have a life of many decades. It will influence, and be influenced by, the developments which it serves. It is important that any system is fully compatible with the specific needs of the corridor having regard to existing and any potential demand, operating conditions and modal split objectives. It must therefore be planned as an integral part of a comprehensive transport and land use strategy for the area. At present this can be difficult to achieve because of the different agencies involved in planning, highways and transport, both public and private sector, and their differing objectives. For example, changes in education or health service provision can have a major impact on the level and location of demand for transport. To be fully effective, LRT must link major traffic generators as directly as possible to ensure competitive journey times.

  5.2  Another key factor is that the benefits of fixed track systems can be maximised if they are planned and operated as part of a fully integrated transport system. At present this can only be achieved in Greater London. There is a need to ensure, if necessary through legislation, that an authority promoting LRT can develop it as the core of an integrated system. This means the ability to provide feeder bus services and interchange facilities with heavy rail services, park and ride and good access for cyclists and pedestrians. It also means avoiding unnecessary duplication or competition on the corridor served by the LRT system in order to preserve the value of the investment in the infrastructure. At present, savings in bus operating costs as a result of LRT investment cannot be realised by LRT promoters.


  6.1  The experience of PTEs in promoting LRT schemes has highlighted a number of key issues that need to be addressed if growth of LRT as an urban mode is to be achieved. They include urban policy, the planning stages, funding, capital costs, issues of standardisation, and the benefits of LRT. Each of these is considered briefly.

Urban policy

  6.2  Transport is a crucial element in urban policies, as set out in the Transport White Paper on Integrated Transport. The transport agenda must be integrated with issues of regeneration, health, social exclusion and other policy areas. LRT can play a major role in this process but this was not fully recognised in the White Paper and has not been acknowledged by the Government.

The planning stages

  6.2  It typically takes at least 10 years to develop a LRT scheme. The process spans problem definition, system options review, demand forecasting, design and appraisal, consultation, environmental impact studies, the Transport and Works Act process, and funding and procurement. The last two processes are particularly problematic. Private sector companies are reluctant to participate in schemes in advance of the TWA process because of the high costs and high risks involved. Ways of shortening timescales and reducing costs need to be sought if the benefits of LRT are to be obtained quickly.


  6.3  Current funding sources are operating revenues, capital grants from Government, European grants and loans, capital borrowings, and private sector contributions. New sources need to be explored urgently including hypothecated congestion or parking charges (including PNR taxes), bond issues and the scope for wider private sector involvement including capitalising planning gain.

Capital costs

  6.4  The capital costs of LRT are seen as high by the Government although they are modest compared with the costs of new heavy rail construction or urban motorways. The scope for reducing the costs of LRT, and the potential for lower cost forms of LRT, needs to be examined and kept under constant review.


  6.5  Each UK LRT scheme developed to date has used a different system specification and method of funding and procurement. The scope for standardising some of these elements should be considered to see if there is potential to minimise costs by eliminating unecessary duplication of effort.

Benefits of LRT

  6.6  There is a large body of literature on LRT including its favourable perception, its ability to attract car users, and new technical developments. This needs to be brought together to highlight:

    —  impacts on reducing congestion and effects on modal split;

    —  environmental benefits and health policy benefits;

    —  cost benefits, operational efficiencies and value for money arguments;

    —  the ability of LRT to be incorporated within the existing urban fabric.


  7.1  The evidence set out in this memorandum strongly supports the development of Light Rapid Transit systems in British towns and cities. The experience of those systems already in operation has demonstrated that they can attract car users to public transport. The following conclusions are drawn to assist the Sub-Committee in their Inquiry:

    (1)  It is highly appropriate to assist the growth of rapid transit schemes in the United Kingdom because of their proven success in attracting car users and reducing congestion and atmospheric pollution.

    (2)  To date light rail has been the most effective form of LRT in attracting car users, much more research is required to assess the effectiveness of other forms of LRT.

    (3)  There is considerable scope for widening the range of light rail applications in the UK, e.g. low floor street tramways and shared track operation with heavy rail.

    (4)  There may be a potential role for intermediate capacity transit systems including different forms of guided busway and different forms of traction, e.g. trolleybus or duobus.

    (5)  The capital cost of guided busways is likely to be significantly lower than for light rail but the benefits may also be substantially lower.

  7.2  In considering what help can be given to assist the growth of LRT Schemes in the UK, the following issues should be addressed:

    (1)  The Government should recognise the potential role of LRT in its various forms to meet their transport objectives, and should facilitate its provision accordingly.

    (2)  LRT must be planned as part of a comprehensive integrated transport strategy and promoters must, if necessary, be given additional powers to ensure that this can be achieved.

    (3)  Ways of reducing the cost and timescale of obtaining TWA powers should be explored.

    (4)  New methods of funding should be explored urgently including hypothecation of congestion or parking charges.

    (5)  The scope for reducing costs and timescales through standardisation should be considered.

    (6)  Existing evidence on the benefits of LRT systems should be brought together as a resource pack for promoters. The need for additional research to establish modal split effects should be reviewed.

    (7)  A national programme of demonstration projects for different forms of LRT should be initiated and carefully monitored to establish their ability to attract potential users.

  7.3  PTEG would be pleased to present verbal evidence on any of the issues raised in this Memorandum should the Sub-Committee so wish.

October 1999

Table 1


PTE LRT System Project Status
London TransportDocklands Light Railway Automated light railway—Tower Gateway, Isle of Dogs and Stratford; extensions to Bank, Becton, and Lewisham. Opened 1997. Lewisham extension to open in 1999.
     Croydon Tramlink Light rail—Croydon to Wimbledon, New Addington, Beckenham Junction and Elmers End Initial 3 line system to open 1999.
     Millennium Transit Electronically guided busway to North Greenwich. Under construction.
     Intermediate capacity modes. Detailed studies for tramway, guided busway and trolleybus in Barking and Romford, Uxbridge Road and Cross River (central London). Ongoing studies.
Centro (West Midlands)Midland Metro Light rail from Birmingham to Wolverhampton. Extensions planned to New Street, Fiveways, and Merryhill programmed. Further routes to be available. Opened 1999.
     Tracline Pilot Project for kerb guided busway in Short Heath, Birmingham. In operation 1984 to 1987.
     Maglev Magnetically levitated peoplemover link at Birmingham International Airport. In operation 1984 to 1995; to be replaced with new system.
Greater ManchesterMetrolink Light rail linking Bury and Altrincham to city centre and Piccadilly station. Extension to Salford Quays/Eccles nearing completion. Powers obtained for lines to Oldham/Rochdale, Airport, Ashton, Trafford Park, East Didsbury. Opened 1992. Salford Quays to open 1999; Eccles to open 2000.
     Leigh Busway Guided busway linking Leigh & Manchester city centre. Powers to be sought in 2000.
MerseytravelMerseyside Rapid Transit (MRT) Electronically guided trolleybuses from Page Moss to Albert Dock via city centre, and park and ride at M62. TWA Public Inquiry held in 1998. Secretary of State not approved Order.
South YorkshireSheffield Supertram Light rail with lines to Middlewood, Main Bridge, Meadowhall, Herdings and Halfway. Opened 1994. Some extensions proposed.
     Trolleybus Powers obtained for lines in Doncaster and Rotherham. Prototype trolleybus built and tested in 1985-86. Proposals not being pursued.
West YorkshireGuided busway Sections of kerb guided busway on Scott Hall Road, Leeds. Second route proposed on York Road. Opened in stages from 1994.
     Leeds Supertram Light rail—line 1 to Middleton and park and ride on M1 awaiting funding; lines 2 and 3 of Headingley and Seacroft awaiting decision on TWA powers. Awaiting approvals.
     Trolleybus Powers obtained for lines in Bradford and Leeds. Proposals not being pursued.
Nexus (Tyne and Wear)Tyne and Wear Metro Light rail with fully segregated operation between Newcastle upon Tyne and Whitley Bay, North Shields, South Shields and Kenton. Extension to Airport opened 1991. Extension to Sunderland and South Hylton proposed with shared track operation. Opened in stages from 1980. Extension to Sunderland to open 2002?
     Metro Complementary Routes Busway or light rail extensions from Metro to Denton, Killingworth, Metrocentre, Washington and Sunderland. Proposals being developed in "Towards 2010 Strategy".
StrathclydeStrathclyde Tram Light rail from Maryhill and Easterhouse to city centre. Powers refused in 1996.
     Glasgow Airport Link Light rail and peoplemover options from city centre or Paisley being evaluated with heavy rail options. Assessment of preferred options in progress.

Table 2


Year Open
Route length
kms (miles)
No cars
Annual pass
per car
Glasgow Underground#
10.4  (6.5)
3.9  (6.3)
1.44m  (2.31m)
Tyne and Wear Metro
59  (36.9)
1.6  (2.4)
0.58m  (0.92m)
Docklands Light Railway
21.5  (13.4)
3.7  (6.0)
0.79m  (1.27m)
Greater Manchester Metrolink
30.9  (19.3)
0.8  (1.3)
0.42m  (0.67m)
South Yorkshire Supertram
29.0  (18.1)
0.9  (1.4)
0.38m  (0.61m)
Midland Metro
20.4  (12.8)
0.7  (1.2)
0.68m  (1.09m)
Croydon Tramlink
28.0  (17.5)
0.9  (1.4)
0.89m  (1.43m)

  #not technically LRT but similar characteristics to DLR.


Route Length
Kms (miles)
Capital cost
Capital cost
£/km (£/mile)
Tyne and Wear Metro
Initial system
55.0  (34.4)
5.2  (8.3)
Airport extension
  3.5  (2.2)
3.4  (5.5)
Sunderland extension
19.2  (12.0)
5.3  (8.4)
Docklands Light Railway
Initial system
12.0  (7.5)
6.4  (10.3)
Bank extension
1.5  (0.9)
184  (306.7)
Becton extension
8.0  (5.0)
35.0  (56.0)
Lewisham extension
4.5  (2.8)
31.1  (50.0)
Manchester Metrolink
Initial system
30.9  (19.3)
4.7  (7.5)
Salford Quays/Eccles ext
7.5  (4.7)
11.3  (18.1)
Oldham Rochdale ext
24.0  (15.0)
4.8  (7.7)
Airport/Wythenshawe ext
21.0  (13.1)
6.9  (11.1)
East Didsbury ext
10.0  (6.3)
8.0  (12.7)
Trafford Park ext
7.0  (4.4)
7.9  (12.5)
East Manchester ext
10.0  (6.3)
10.0  (15.9)
South Yorkshire Supertram
Initial system
29.0  (18.1)
8.3  (13.3)
Midland Metro
Initial system
20.4  (12.8)
7.1  (11.3)
Snow Hill-Fiveways ext
Wednesbury-Merry Hill ext
Wolverhampton town centre
Croydon Tramlink
Initial system
28.0  (17.5)
7.1  (11.4)

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Prepared 8 June 2000