The successful 7-day operation of the Stourbridge branch line service by Pre Metro Operations has led to interest in operating schemes elsewhere in the UK.
Pre Metro Operations are the preferred operator of the proposed scheme, which has recently been given permission to establish a demonstration operation in the City. For further information, please see links here and here The Preston Trampower website can be viewed here
Trams for Hereford
A projected Light Rail scheme in Hereford City Centre is the latest proposal to suggest Pre Metro Operations’ involvement.
An outline report of the case for a light tram system in Hereford, produced by transport geographer Gareth Calan Davies with assistance from Pre Metro Operations, was published early in 2016. This was prepared as part of a growing case for a sustainable transport plan for the City of Hereford and dovetailed into the declared Local Transport Plan policies of Herefordshire Council. Following this an autumn public meeting was arranged by the transport group Rail & Bus for Herefordshire at which the MD of Pre Metro Operations gave an informative and enlightening talk on developments in light tram systems with specific reference to the Stourbridge operation.
The result of this meeting was to stimulate a considerable interest and support for a tram system in Hereford starting with a phase 1 scheme connecting the large housing areas south of the river with the city and the main line railway station. The tram route would use the existing Great Western Way which as a pedestrian and cycle route is on the formation of an old railway line which includes an existing bridge over the River Wye. Further phases of the scheme connect into the new Enterprise Zone at Rotherwas (also south of the river) and greater penetration of the city centre.
Following the Rail & Bus meeting a number of interested groups came together under the banner of the Hereford Transport Alliance, supported by both Pre Metro Operations Ltd and Gareth Calan Davies. Hereford Transport Alliance organised a stand in High Town, the city centre, where information on the potential for a tram route was disseminated to the public together with a petition to the Council asking for the proposals to be taken further as part of their long term LTP.
A significant factor is that a number of groups came together and the tram proposal gained a higher profile and hence an increased measure of support. To build on this Hereford Transport Alliance have called a meeting in mid-December to discuss ways forward for the project. Pre Metro Operations is closely involved in the process which as a next phase will include developing a business plan and involving more closely the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, the Department of Transport and both Herefordshire and Hereford City Council.
For further information, please contact Gareth Calan Davies: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can view a presentation by Gareth Calan Davies here:
South West / Isle of Wight
Pre Metro Operations Ltd has responded to the Department for Transport consultation on the South Western Rail Franchise.
Chief Executive Phil Evans suggested that Pre Metro could play a part in the development of several operations in the region through a sub-contract arrangement similar to it’s current operation in the West Midlands, as well as the possibility of a standalone micro-franchise.
Recognising that a small company such as Pre Metro couldn’t realistically be considered for the provision of train services at a franchise level, he suggested that the innovation put in place by Pre Metro on it’s Stourbridge Operation could be repeated in the South West.
The Isle of Wight Island Line proposal for a separate business unit is supported, and this could be the precursor to a locally-controlled bespoke company. Pre Metro’s consultation with interested parties on the Isle of Wight has led the company to recommend a phased approach to autonomy. The operation could see revenue growth through tourism growth, new developments and an improved & regular train service frequency. The “third rail” system is recommended to be replaced by existing light rail technology.
Other proposals suggested by Pre Metro in the consultation response include;
- The progressive expansion of the Island Line to other parts of the Isle of Wight utilising light rail technology and working practices.
- Conversion of the existing Lymington branch line operations to a non-electrified light rail operation.
- Introduction of a low-cost passenger service on the Swanage-Wareham alignment utilising a non-electrified light rail operation.
- Other potential light rail feeder services to be investigated in the longer-term, including Bentley-Bordon and a Weymouth dock circular service.