Liverpool tram network could return under new government says Metro Mayor

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The city used trams a century ago, with the first electric service operating from Dingle in 1898.

A tram network across Liverpool could be looked at again if transport funding was made real under a future Labour government.

The city used trams a century ago, with the first electric service operating from Dingle in 1898. However, the last tram ran from the Pier Head in 1957.

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Plans for a new ‘Merseytram’ network were proposed in 2001, comprising a loop around the city centre, before heading over three lines, including one towards Liverpool John Lennon Airport. However, after infighting and soaring costs, the heralded plans were scrapped in 2013.

Now, the transport expansion for the city centre could be revived under a potential new change of occupiers in Downing Street according to Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram.

Addressing a fringe event at the Labour Party conference on Monday, Mr Rotheram said should his party take power at the next election and deliver the funding required, transport bosses could “look again” at installing trams across Liverpool city centre.

Speaking at an event on the future of the Liverpool City Region, Mr Rotheram, who unveiled a brand new train station in Kirkby just last week, expressed his frustration at the Merseytram project never fully taking off.

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He said: “We had the money before Manchester for a tram. Our local authorities couldn’t work together and we lost the money. We spent the money on rails but when we ended up selling them, we didn’t even get the money for them. We ended up fighting each other and lost the opportunity to steal a march on Manchester.”

A Freedom of Information request in 2018 revealed despite £821,000 being spent on the steel to build tracks, the rails were sold for less than half that – £267,657.

Mr Rotheram said he had held conversations with Transport Secretary Mark Harper since the scrapping of the northern leg of HS2, confirmed by the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last week. When asked what else would need to be devolved from Westminster to get Merseytram back on track, he said: “We (Rotheram and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham) have been promised £1.6bn.

“Now if that ever became real, we could look again at it in the future, at a tram system in Liverpool. We’re also looking at trackless trams.”

The trackless trams would be latest in a long line of projects mooted, including the “Lime Line” designs mooted back in 2021.

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