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

Note this agenda is provisional – for the latest version CLICK HERE

Looking at the case for trams, where they could be deployed and the next steps.

Bath MP Wera Hobhouse and Bath Trams are hosting a conference on the re-introduction of Trams for Bath as a solution to the congestion and pollution issues, as a stimulus to Bath’s economy by facilitating shoppers and workers entering the city, and as a solution to movement in the public realm within the city. In addition to a comprehensive network within Bath, tram connections to Chippenham, Radstock, Bristol and Bristol airport  are proposed.

 Experts from the transport sector will be giving their views, along with the leaders of the local political parties.


 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.

A professional study indicated that at least 4 of the proposed routes were likely to be feasible ” no show stoppers”.

 There are many trams systems serving towns smaller than Bath, and France has recently re-installed 23 systems specifically to revitalize the hitherto declining city centers.

 In Britain, all the new tram UK systems including Edinburgh, have proved wildly popular and generated pressure to extend them,  and 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 narrow strip of road as is the case in many continental cities.  ie, no special dedicated tram routes are required. and Bath streets are not too narrow or too steep

 Modern slab track systems can be installed over-night without major disruption to traffic or services, and can span all Bath’s cellars.  Some trams systems have used conventional sleepered track, causing installation delays partly due to the need to re-locate services and disruption which will not be repeated in Bath if we use these modern slab tracks which only need to go in the first 9 iunches of the road where there are not services.

 Tram systems are preferable to buses, because car drivers do not find buses an acceptable alternative, whereas they will accept trams.

 This acceptability to car drivers means it is politically acceptable to the general populace and shopkeepers to restrict cars in cities if a tram system is installed, which is not the case with buses.

The transition to electric vehicles will only make a small reduction in deadly particulate pollution from engined cars, because as much particulate pollution particularly of the dangerous very small size comes not from the engine but from ground-up road material, tar and rubber tyre dust, and in any case, these will not help 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, and thus get through traffic by having lanes cleared well ahead. For non-obvious reason, this is generally not effective with buses.  ( basically it would require 3 – 5 times as many buses and therefore 3 – 5 times the number of  interventions which is not practical as the multiple pre-emptions mutually confict)

 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

Chair – Bath Trams

Provisional Agenda – this is at a very early stage and is being developed. AGENDA Times nd speakers are not finalised

Friday evening

730 pm – informal get together / food / drink , White Hart Gastro Pub, Widcombe, near conference venue. Widcombe Hill, Bath BA2 6AA. 01225 338053.  They also do cheap and reasonable accomodation

Saturday – Formal conference

1000 Opening Remarks – Wera Hobhouse MP

1015 Dave Andrews, Chair Bath Trams – Over view of proposed routes. Bath Trams objectives

1030 Professor Lewis Lesley – BSc, AKC, PhD, CEng, FRSA, MICE, FCIT, MTPS). Developer of the privately funded Preston Tram – the evidence indicating that trams are likely the only solution to congestion and pollution and the means to make cities thrive, and the evidence that buses, park and rides etc will not deliver the step change that trams will. Professor Lesley has spent the bulk of his academic career studying how to get people to use buses more particularly cars, and found nowhere has this been succesful.  On the other hand he will give evidience of where trams systems have succesfully drawn people out of their cars and in so doing reduced congestion and pollution.

1100 David Walmsley –  Transport Analyst BSc –  PhD, CMILT, MCIHT, tram technical lead. Member of UKTram; UK Rep on European Urban Tram Forum; formerly Fixed Track Executive at Confederation of Passenger Transport.

David will be covering some of the advantages of trams that don’t get mentioned so much – trams are common in countries all over Europe – focus on France, where they were just as keen as in UK to get rid of trams in the 1950s and now have 28 new systems – only 6 tramways in UK – why?- accessibility for people with disabilities / impairments,- safety – trams are very safe, despite the Croydon accident (the first passenger fatalities on any British tramway anywhere since modern trams began)- trams are good for urban development and regeneration.

1130  Coffee

1145 Dr Bob Chard M.Phil. (architecture) B.A. (technology) Dip.TP. Expert in consents and approvals procedures for major transport infrastructure projects; urban transit systems.  Over 40 yrs. consultancy, local government and academic experience. Formerly MRTPI (Royal Town Planning Institute) and now a UK Tram member. Will speak on the subject of consents and approvals required for the construction and operation of new tram systems

1215 Probably someone from eg Mott MacDonald will talk about the steps and costs to go through the engineering and design of a tram system such as in Bath, including pre-feasibility and feasibility to determine optimum routes.

James Hammett  Managing Director UKTram The UK Tram industry body.  Topic to be decided.

Lea Harrison Ops Manager for Edinburgh Trams

Roger Harrison Chair Tramlink Nottingham 2007-2015 the succesful Nottingham tram system and President LRTA ( Light Rail Transit Association) 2015-2017E will be talking about 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.

Nick Mallinson will be talking about the planned tram system for Coventry

1245 Speaker TBC. How to raise funds for a tram system

1315  Lunch

1345  Technical options for trams – modern Ultra Light Trams

1415  Andrew Braddock –  the immediate past Chairman and a Vice-President of the Light Rail Transit Association (LRTA), and Chairman of the Promotions  Group of industry body UKTram, a member of the Bus & Coach Forum of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT)Examples of trams success in reducing traffic, re-vitalizing cities, and examples of trammed cities smaller than Bath

1440 The Oslo Effect – how all rubber tyred vehicle produce particulate prollute similar to the poolution emitted from vehicle exhuasts .  James Harkins.

1500  David Rumney: A chartered engineer, and a (retired) member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Highways and Transportation and the Institute of Arbitrators. Involved in the planning of many UK successful tram systems such as the  Manchester Metro-link, Birmingham, ( but  not Edinburgh) and varying levels of involvement in Croydon, Liverpool and Nottingham, Leeds Supertram ( not built  – Alistair Darling cancelled the scheme along with that of Liverpool.) . Expert in the issue of underground utilities diversions ( full expertise listed below in Advisory Group)Engineering issues – steps in a successful project

1530  Bath Trams approach – how Bath could own its own tram system

1600 –  Views from Bath Preservation Trust  ( Most Western cities expanded using steel railed horse, then electric trams, so they are arguably part of Bath’s heritage, whereas traffic congestion, vehicle pollution, road widening, carparks, street furniture etc)  were only recently introduced after the war with the mass introduction of cars which are therefore arguably not part of Bath’s heritage)

1630 Remarks from councillors representing the four local  political groups

1700 – Discussion around strengthening and broadening Bath Trams as a serious group intending to bring trams back to Bath.

1730 formal end – coffee and bar till can continue in the downstairs bar

Saturday evening

After conference –  informal get together / food / drink , White Hart Gastro Pub, Widcombe, near conference venue. Widcombe Hill, Bath BA2 6AA. 01225 338053.  They also do cheap and reasonable accomodation