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

Memorandum by the South West Transport Network (RT 38)


  Please find Transport 2000 South West Network response to the Environment Transport and Regional Affairs Committee inquiry into Light Rail systems. We welcome the decision of the committee to explore schemes in other countries and are particularly interested in their exploring methods of finance for schemes by bond issues by local authorities and corporations, finance in public transport utilities in Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia should be examined.

  Transport 2000 would like to draw the Committees attention to the important role of Light Rail and Urban Transit systems especially in our urban cities linked into our local rail networks. In Bristol there is a need to provide a light rail system linked into the local suburban rail services. The network could extend from the city centre to Bradley Stoke via the North Bristol main lines and further towards Gloucester. If the Severn Beach and Portishead routes are linked into the network to South Bristol this could provide an urban renaissance that is socially inclusive for the Bristol Travel to Work area linked to the wider area of Taunton, Bradford-on-Avon, Weston-super-Mare, Bristol TM, Yate, Gloucester, Bristol TM, Keynsham, Bath, Trowbridge, Westbury, Frome, Bristol TM to Bath, Swindon heavy rail corridors.

  Light rail schemes can improve choice and make modal shift at a higher rate on key corridors than using bus services, especially on congested corridors such as Gloucester Road in Bristol, where bus priorities cannot be provided.

  A light rail scheme could also benefit the regeneration of the rail system around Cardiff with a Light Rail Link taking over the valley line and improving access to Cardiff Bay by a short running system.

  In small urban settlements there is a need to review the role of ultra light rail systems such as a People Mover that is operating in Bristol Harbour and could provide a good light rail system linked via the British Rail Harbour Railway and Portishead Line Link to Long Ashton Park and Ride. Another use is in Weymouth using light weight rail buses on the Weymouth Quay Tramway to improve access to shops, channel ferry quay and railway station.

  There is also a need to still address the protection of former British Rail land routes and corridors. This land should be protected[5] via strategic rail authorities and a revised PPG13. Light Rail schemes on the Isle of Wight would help the regeneration of the island line from Ryde to Shanklin with additional lines to Ventnor and Newport.

  The Bristol System if linked to good rail and bus networks could prove a viable public transport alternative to the private car linking from Bristol City Centre to Bristol Temple Meads to Filton and Bradley Stoke via the socially excluded inner city area of Lawrence Hill, Stapleton Road, Lawrence Hill. Barton Hill is an SRR area and needs good transport links. The scheme should be linked to the Severn Beach Branch line via Clifton Down, linked to Portishead branch reopening and use of the railway formation to Whitchurch and Hartcliffe in south Bristol but improved network links need to be provided at Bristol Bus Station.

  We would support Light Rail Schemes linked to heavy rail refranchising proposals of the National Network in Portsmouth, Nottingham, Birmingham Midland Metro extensions to New Street station, Merry Hill, Wolverhampton Bus and Rail Station and also Leeds, Liverpool and Edinburgh.

  The guide light transit vehicle GLT should also be evaluated in small urban areas in the UK such as Gloucester, Cheltenham, Taunton and Plymouth etc. Light rail track can also provide improved freight corridors in our urban areas. Light rail vehicles, similar to those in Europe, could be used on the Exeter to Barnstaple and Okehampton Railway or Radstock to Frome, Wells, Shepton Mallet to Frome route.

October 1999

5   By preventing British Railway Board Land Sales of routes required for future heavy and light rail options. Back

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