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)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

    Head of Sales, London

    £70 - 95K OTE £125K. Plus Car,Private Healthcare and Pension: Charter Selectio...

    Head of Sales, Milton Keynes

    £70 - 90K OTE £125K. Plus Car,Private Healthcare and Pension: Charter Selectio...

    Head of Sales, Bristol

    £70 - 90K OTE £125K. Plus Car,Private Healthcare and Pension: Charter Selectio...

    Head of Sales, Birmingham

    £70 - 90K OTE £125K. Plus Car,Private Healthcare and Pension: Charter Selectio...

    Day In a Page

    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

    Farewell, my lovely

    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

    John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

    Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

    The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
    The 10 best pedicure products

    Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

    Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

    Commonwealth Games 2014

    Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
    Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

    Jack Pitt-Brooke

    Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
    How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game