Preston is set for a tram revolution as soon as December.
The trams, which are the first its kind to be installed since Victorian times in the UK, will be available for residents to try out as early as December.
Lincoln Shields, business development manager for TramPower told how the trams are a magnet for success: “Businesses will be fighting to buy land at one of the terminus points.
“If you look at the UK, places with trams are coupled with success, Manchester, Sheffield, they’re all thriving cities, Preston could join them.”
Mr Shields was talking at the East Area Forum, held at Holmes Slack Community School, and assured locals that fares would be reasonable, and that OAP’s would receive free travel, at chosen times of the day.
Mr Shields told residents that the work to get the track fully functional and running should only ‘take weeks’, and implementing the entire network would create 500 jobs for local people by 2014.
TramPower expect the demonstration line, running from West View Leisure Centre to mouth of Miley Tunnel, will be running within two months.
The new transport system will be funded entirely by a private company, with no cost to the taxpayer, and its running costs are next to nothing.
“The line will be powered entirely by sustainable sources, by wind and solar power.” Mr. Shields explained, “two-thirds of the tram track is using disused network rail, so the initial output to fund it is minimal.”
The 200 seater tram runs on the same energy as a small family car, costing just 7p per mile to run.
The demonstration line can only go as far as the mouth of the Miley tunnel due to the test carriage not being 100 per cent fireproof, but once the fully functional tram carriages are created, the track will extend through the tunnel to the University of Central Lancashire.
The first main line, the Guild Line, will run from Redscar on Bluebell Way to Preston Train Station, with Mr Shields joking that the tram ‘may even get people using the park and ride’, which is infamously underused.
The second line to be built will go from Preston docks to the train station.
The third line will also go from the train station, this time to the Capitol Centre, crossing over the River Ribble.
TramPower aim to have all three of the initial lines actively used by the time the 2012 Guild celebrations come to the city.