Proposed Leeds Supertram
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In 1977 "WYTCONSULT" suggested after a transportation study that various corridors in Leeds would be suitable for light rail operation. (Trams operated in Leeds until November 1959). This suggestion, dormant until 1989, was partly taken up when West Yorkshire PTE (METRO) announced its METROLINE LRT scheme which basically was along York Road to various destinations on the east side of the city. This scheme did not have support from the Leeds City Council and was eventually abandoned.
|THE CURRENT SUPERTRAM PROPOSAL|
|Parliamentary Powers to permit a Supertram project to proceed in Leeds were granted to METRO in conjunction with Leeds City Council during July 1993. It was for a route to Tingley from Cookridge Street in Leeds City centre and included a branch from Hunslet to Stourton. This totalled 12km at an estimated cost at that time of £95m. (A later 1998 figure gave the cost as £130m.) Supertram track, although in part "on street", would mostly be on segregated alignments such as grass verges, central reservations or its own alignment. 350mm high platforms at all stops will permit level boarding. Power will be supplied at 750v DC from overhead wires suspended where possible from adjacent buildings. Both the South Leeds terminals will be adjacent to Motorways and each provided with a PARK & RIDE site. It has been estimated that Tingley would be 23 minutes running time from Leeds City centre and Stourton 12 minutes.|
THE TENDERING PROCESS
Competitive tendering for a DBOM (design, build, operate and maintain) contract eventually produced a preferred bidder for the scheme and this turned out to be EUROTRANS and made up of:
Proposals for two other lines, to the North West (Bodington) and the North East (Whinmoor), have already gone through the public inquiry stage. If given legal status the three routes will total about 28kms with an estimated cost of £300m. At the time of writing no design work is being done because of a lack of Government funding towards the project. The Council's determination to continue pressing for Supertram was recently displayed by a unanimous vote to apply to renew its Parliamentary Powers after July 1998 when they ceased to be valid.
Progress at last!
In December 2000 it was announced that the powers had been renewed and the orders for the extensions had been approved subject to certain conditions. See the newspage for details. This has been followed in March 2001 by the announcement that 75 per cent of the cash would come from central Government and 25 per cent would be raised locally. This funding go-ahead has been given assuming that the legal procedures on planning and compulsory purchase of land are completed satisfactorily. Parliamentary approval is required where there is purchase of open space without alternative replacement land being offered.
Almost 100 companies attended the meeting which marked the start of the tendering process for the construction and operation of Leeds Supertram. the tendering process ends in mid-2003, when the successful company or consortium will be announced.
Mick Martin took up his post as Leeds Supertram Project Director on Monday 3 September. Mick, who joined the Scheme from Jarvis Rail where he was Business Development Director, has been in the rail industry for 23 years and has worked on a number of major schemes including the West Coast Main Line, the London Underground and a range of projects across the North of England.
The companies which will act as Project and Cost Managers, Financial Advisers, Utilities Advisers, Engineering and Operations Advisers and Legal Advisers until the network is up and running are:
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