Bath Tram conference papers 24th November 2018, Bath, WSC

( The Agenda follows on at the foot of this page)

Bath’s MP Wera Hobhouse and Bath Trams held a conference on the re-introduction of Trams for Bath as a solution to the traffic congestion and associated pollution issues in the city. Trams can be a stimulus to Bath’s economy by facilitating movement into and within the city. This will benefit those who live and work here as well as the many visitors and shoppers who come to enjoy all this world heritage city has to offer.

Conference Papers:

This is an alternative link to the Speakers’ presentations:

Conference Agenda


Trams for Bath? Opened by Wera Hobhouse MP and Bath Trams. Saturday afternoon, 24th November

0900 Coffee and registration, biscuits

1000 Opening Remarks – Wera Hobhouse MP


1005 Dave Andrews, Chair Bath Trams – Over-view of why we have proposed a tramway for within Bath, and Bath- Bristol along the main road A4 to Bristol not the old S&D which does not go directly to Bristol centre( and possibly Radstock – Bath – Chippenham


1010 Cllr Tim Warren, Deputy Mayor for the West of England combined authority, Cllr for Mendip Ward, Leader of Bath & Northeast Somerset Council. Will give an update on future plans with respect to possible tram lines to Bristol and re-railing to Radstock.


1020 Professor Lewis Lesley – BSc, AKC, PhD, CEng, FRSA, MICE, FCIT, MTPS) Professor Lesley has spent the bulk of his academic career studying how to get people to use buses rather than cars, and found that nowhere has this been successful. On the other hand he will give evidence of where trams systems have successfully drawn people out of their cars and in so doing reduced congestion and pollution. He is the developer of the privately funded Preston Tram using a novel tram and track system which is privately funded.

Key points: nowhere have buses solved a city congestion problem. Bus good for rural and tram feeders. Trams can by every 6 minutes and carry 4-5 the route capacity of a bus. Traffic lights can be scheduled centrally to prevent traffic blocking without route segregation, but this cannot be done for buses. Even bus priority lanes does not encourage people out of cars in high numbers.


1035 James J Harkins Light Rail (UK) FCILT, MTPS. The Oslo Effect – key points. How all rubber tyred vehicles produce minute particulate pollution similar to the pollution emitted from vehicle exhausts but which is in many respects worse than the larger particles from diesel engines, since these nano particles can penetrate the lungs and enter the blood stream. The answer, a low cost Hydrogen Tram proposed for Warrington. Will explain history of Aruba low cost hydrogen tram, and how it attracted tourists out of coaches and created development alongside tracks. Same tracks as used in Hague, and could be installed for £3m / km in ( Aberdeen?)


1050 Coffee


1120 David Walmsley BSc, PhD, CMILT, MCIHT, UKTram; European Urban Tram Forum, formerly Fixed Track Executive at Confederation of Passenger Transport. Tram technical lead. David will be covering some of the advantages of trams that don’t get mentioned so much.

Key points: Modern trams are an important part of public transport provision in countries all over Europe (especially France with 28 new systems); trams are accessible for people with disabilities; trams are very safe; trams are good for urban development and regeneration. There are tram systems in cities of similar or smaller size than Bath.


1135 Roger Harrison. Chair Tramlink Nottingham the successful Nottingham tram system 2007-2015. and President LRTA ( Light Rail Transit Association) 2015-2017E will be talking about the benefits of trams and relate to his experience in Nottingham . He will cover the rationale for the Phase 2 Notts tram scheme, business case, why tram, financing, issues as well as some facts about build, delays, ops, demand and revenues and customer service that could be useful for Bath. Key points, trams may be expensive but overall they have solved to a large extent the traffic issues in Nottingham and are a great success and will be extended.


1150 – Cllr Mark Shelford, Cabinet Member for Transport and Highways


1200 Panel Discussion – Local politicians and Business view

Each invited to give their views briefly, more or less to introduce themselves, to guide questioners, not a speech please. That’s only two minutes each. You can extemporise a bit in questions obviously.

  • Phil Marshall: Semior Partner, Carter Jonas
  • Cllr Dine Romero: Leader, BathNES Lib Dem Council group, Southdown Councillor
  • Cllr Robin Moss: Leader BathNES Labour Group, Cllr Westfield ward
  • Dominic Tristram : BathNES Green Party Chairman


1210 Questions from the audience


1220 Tony Young MSc CEng FICE FCILT MIHT (Tony’s talk will be given by Andrew Braddock) Key points Tony’s talk will explain that tram systems can be viable in smaller towns (like Bath) as well as in big cities based on a case study which compares York, UK to Freiburg in Germany. The two towns are very similar in size, socio-economic data, population, wealth etc . and both have large universities.

After twenty three years with Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive, Tony Young became an independent transportation engineering consultant, specializing in light rail. He was involved in the very successful Manchester Metrolink from its inception in the early eighties to its completion and operation in 1992, leading the planning team that evaluated the options and progressed the chosen street running light rail system. He has provided consultancy assistance on light rail proposals for a number of authorities in the UK (including Bath), Ireland, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Israel, USA and Canada. He is a Churchill Fellow and an Honorary Life Member of the Light Rail Transit Association

Tony’s talk will explain that tram systems can be viable in smaller towns as well as in big cities based on a case study which compares York, UK to Freiburg in Germany. The two towns are very similar in size, socio-economic data, population, wealth etc . and both have large universities. The big difference is their transport strategies. As you know Freiburg has the highest per capita use of trams of any city in the world and York has no trams.

His data compares all trips mode shares. Not only does Freiburg have a higher mode share for tram use it also has significantly higher mode shares from cycling and walking (because of bi-modal trips such as walk-tram walk and cycle-tram-walk). Also car use in Freiburg is impressively low even though car ownership is very similar to York; and there are no policies of aggressive anti car taxes or control of car use. It is argued then that in Bath we do not need any new penalties, fines, taxes, charges, controls, etc on motorists as they will voluntarily switch to trams but not buses. Note: Tony’s talk will be given by Andrew Braddock.


1235 Lunch


1330 Cllr Robert Aldridge will talk on the Edinburgh tramway with which he was closely involved.


1345 Dr Nick Mallinson – ULR developer – will explain that cheaper tramway options exist Coventry is planning to install a tram system based on his system.


1400 Beverley Nielsen – ULR – Design, Make and Operator – will explain that other cheaper successful tram options exist


1415 Panel Discussion with Technical Experts

  • Cllr Robert Aldridge of the Edinburgh tramway
  • David Rumney – utilities and tram planning – utilities do not generally need to be diverted
  • David Walmsley BSc, PhD, CMILT, MCIHT, UKTram – a couple minutes on Manchester at as per the earlier draft.
  • Andrew Braddock – trams for small cities
  • James J Harkins Light Rail (UK) FCILT, MTPS


1500 – Overview and next steps. Dave Andrews, Chair, Bath Trams

1515 – Conference Ends


Notes on why trams are likely the only solution to congestion in Bath

Note. All the hills in Bath are accessible to trams, and the routes indicated on the map have been surveyed and are more than wide enough to accommodate them.

A recent professional study prepared for the Council has indicated that at least 4 proposed routes were likely to be feasible with ” no show stoppers” identified.

There are many trams systems serving towns smaller than Bath, and France has recently re-installed 27 systems specifically to revitalize city centers and improve the environment within them.

In Britain, all the recent new tram systems including Edinburgh, have proved wildly popular and have generated pressure for additional lines to be constructed. They have been shown to attract people from cars and thus to reduce congestion and pollution. Buses do not do this

Bath Trams assume “on-street running” where trams and cars share precisely the same road space as is the case in many continental cities; i.e. no special dedicated tram routes are required. And Bath’s streets are not too narrow or too steep for trams.

Modern slab track systems can be installed progressively during night times without major disruption to day time traffic or utility services, and can be designed to span all Bath’s beneath road cellars. Some trams systems have used conventional sleepered track, causing installation delays partly due to the need to re-locate services and thereby caused considerable disruption. This will not be repeated in Bath if we use these modern slab tracks which only need to be set within the first 9 inches of the road where there are no services.

Tram systems can be instrumental in initiating a high level of modal switch from cars which is not the case with buses. This is because car drivers generally do not find buses an acceptable alternative, whereas they will accept trams running to a frequent and regular timetable.

This acceptability to car drivers means the case for trams can be forcefully promoted by local politicians and can gain widespread suppport from the general populace and shopkeepers who see the benefits from restricting cars in cities if a tram system is installed. This is not the case with buses.

The forthcoming transition to electric vehicles will only make a small reduction in deadly particulate pollution from from traditional engined cars, because substantial microscopic particulate atmospheric pollution comes not only from engine exhausts but also from a combination of road surface dust, tar and rubber tyre dust. In any case, electric vehicles will not help reduce congestion.

The typical highways entering Bath can carry about 1000 cars per hour, buses could manage maybe 15,000 per hour and trams 40,000.

With a tram system it is possible to control traffic lights citywide(Green Wave Traffic Light Pre-emption) so that trams can have precedence at all road junctions, and thus not be impeded by traffic because the road ahead will always be clear. This system is generally not effective with buses.

If you wish to talk, please let me know.

Commercial entities are welcome to sponsor and display their marketing materials.

There will be further announcements regarding speakers, agenda and venue.

Hope to see you at the conference.

Best Wishes

Dave Andrews M. Inst En C.Eng

Chair – Bath Trams



Widcombe Social Club

Widcombe Hill, Bath