Ipswich tram plans are derailed

TRAMS are unlikely to ever make a comeback in Ipswich despite the continued existence of track around the town's waterfront and the new-found enthusiasm for them from Conservative leader David Cameron.

TRAMS are unlikely to ever make a comeback in Ipswich despite the continued existence of track around the town's waterfront and the new-found enthusiasm for them from Conservative leader David Cameron.

The possibility of using the former freight tracks around the Wet Dock for a new Waterfront light rail system was floated last year.

It was suggested that the tracks could carry new environmentally-friendly tram cars to a new station near Prince's Street bridge, creating a fast link between the Waterfront and the railway station.

However Ipswich council's planning and economic development spokesman Richard Atkins feared such a move, while attractive, would be too expensive to contemplate seriously.

He said: “It's a wonderful idea - in large cities trams are a very environmentally-friendly method of travel and are very popular.

“But in Ipswich the cost would be prohibitive and even using some of the exisiting tracks would be very uneconomic.”

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Most of the tracks along the east bank of the Wet Dock - where much of the development, including Cranfields, Albion Maltings, Neptune Quay and Orwell Quay is taking place - have been removed during the paving of the Waterfront walkways.

There are still some tracks on the island site - but they would probably have to be replaced before they could carry fare-paying passengers.

Mr Atkins said: “When I took over this role, I asked council officers about the possibility of reintroducing trams but we would be talking about millions of pounds and there are other solutions.”

The council was considering sponsoring more free bus services, using environmentally-friendly vehicles similar to that which operates between Endeavour House and the town centre.

Mr Atkins said: “We can look at using cleaner vehicles, using electric power or biodiesel and other options like that - but more expensive proposals are not realistic.”

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