Transport issues: The Tram-Train Initiative

by Simon Tooke

The Lincoln Green Party proposal for a long-term integrated transport plan for Lincoln includes a tram system with a difference. We want to see tram-trains running on existing railway tracks – which will not impact on the road network except in very limited locations. We also want to see improved provision for cycling and walking. This would make a huge difference to Lincoln’s traffic congestion problems as very little new land would require redevelopment.

There is enough space in the locations considered for tram stops with platforms on short loop lines adjacent to the existing main-line tracks. This will prevent trams impeding the progress of main-line trains and allow passengers on and off trams safely. Tram-train stopping places will be closer together than traditional train stations, at intervals more like those between bus stops. The new transport hub adjacent to Lincoln Central station will play a key role as the notional centre of a tram system with lines radiating out from this Central station. It is inevitable that a few roads will have to carry some of the new tram traffic, particularly in uphill Lincoln.

There is much concern over the traffic problems caused by the level crossings on Skellingthorpe Road and Doddington Road and any additional time these crossings might be closed if rail traffic is increased. Because tram-trains are light-weight and easy to stop and start they could, if necessary, be made to stop and wait at these crossings as if they were traffic lights, which would mean road closures for much shorter periods.

In the longer term, we believe that the £88bn released by the cancellation of HS2 should be invested in public transport nationally and a local transport group could make a bid for some of this money. This is of particular interest to North Hykeham as most of the old Honington line still exists and it would be relatively easy to reopen it between Waddington and Lincoln Central. Lincoln’s tram-train passenger services could start on this stretch of line and grow into other parts of the city and beyond using existing railway lines with some new extensions.

Routes will radiate from Lincoln Central station and existing lines improved as far as: