The head of public transport in the West Midlands has urged the Government to invest £100 million a year in a tram-train network.
Geoff Inskip, chief executive of Centro, the integrated transport authority for the region, called on the Department for Transport to set aside the funding for tram-trains from savings identified in the McNulty Report into improving efficiency in Britain’s rail industry.
A tram-train is a light-rail system where trams are able to run on an urban network and on mainline railways shared with conventional trains.
Mr Inskip is also chairman of UK Tram, the lobby group for Britain’s tram industry.
“In the Centro region alone we have three possible applications – Wednesbury- Stourbridge, Walsall-Wolverhampton and Walsall-Wednesbury,” he said.
“Tram-train is a brilliant concept ripe for development – it combines the tram’s flexibility and accessibility with a train’s greater speed, and bridges the distance between main railway stations and a city centre.”
Work has begun on a national tram-train pilot scheme between Sheffield and Rotherham which is due to begin operating in 2015.
“By starting work now in other parts of the country the successful outcomes of the national trial can be immediately captured without prolonged interruptions for lengthy project development stages,” Mr Inskip said.
“In this way we can get on with delivering the Department for Transport’s agenda of delivering a better value for money railway and a greener more sustainable economy.”