Trams are back, 41 years late

Trams will run on London's streets today for the first time in 41 years. A temporary light railway has been brought to Barking, east London, to test opinion on whether trams should operate permanently.

The compact 'people mover was installed in less than 24 hours along Barking's main pedestrianised shopping street.

It runs along temporary track set in a brick bed and is powered by friction-driven flywheels supplemented by low-voltage recharges when stationary, so does not require overhead power cables or electrified rails.

For the next three days the tram will ply a 100-metre route and passengers will be questioned by Barking and Dagenham council staff on whether they would use an extended service.

The authority is considering spending pounds 1m on a tram system to link the railway station, shopping centre and a new retail development near Barking Quay on the edge of the town. The waterside complex suffers from being relatively inaccessible and the 'people mover is seen as an environmentally friendly and attractive way of providing a connection.

The tramline would also contribute to a larger scheme to revitalise the run-down quayside for boating, shopping and other recreational uses. The authority should learn within three months whether the Department of the Environment will let it construct a pounds 1.5m tide barrier to create a lagoon at the riverside.

Cafes and bars would then be encouraged to move to the waterfront, and the protected pool could be used by dinghies and canoeists. If the scheme goes ahead, the quayside should be transformed within five years.

Barking's temporary light railway, paid for largely by local traders, has been timed to coincide with a conference tomorrow organised by the council on how the East Thames corridor can be regenerated. Participating local authorities will argue that public transport links should be improved in conjunction with projects to bring jobs and businesses to the area, not as an afterthought.

Jack Knowles, controller of development and technical services with Barking council, said: 'We need regeneration, no one would say otherwise, but what we don't want is another Docklands where development happened without any idea of how people were going to be moved about.

Mr Knowles believes a key issue is persuading the Government to fund a thorough review of how public transport across north-east London can be improved.

He will make his case directly to Stephen Norris, Minister for Transport in London, who will be addressing the conference.

In the longer term the 12 boroughs along the East Thames corridor will seek grants for improving public transport.

Croydon council officers will travel to Parliament today to be questioned by MPs over their plans for a pounds 160m tram network across south London.

The Croydon Tramlink Bill is due to resume its committee stage in the Commons today and should receive the Royal Assent in November.

Work should start early next year on the 18-mile network linking Croydon with Wimbledon, Beckenham and New Addington. The last tram service was withdrawn from New Cross in July 1952.

(Photograph omitted)

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Maths Teacher

    £110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

    Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

    £40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    ***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

    £30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    ***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

    £35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    Day In a Page

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?