Preston Tram

Eric Wright picked for £25m Preston tram project

Contractor Eric Wright Civil Engineering has been chosen to build a 3.5-mile tramway in Preston, which will bring tram services back to the city for the first time since the 1930s.

Client Preston Trampower and Eric Wright have signed a memorandum of understanding today, allowing the contractor to start on site in March 2018 on the first stage of the project, which runs on the former Longridge to Preston Railway.

The first phase covers former railway line between Skeffington Road and Deepdale Street and will see the construction of a new tram station, platform, and tram shed. The stretch of track will initially be used for demonstration rides and staff training, but could welcome its first paying passengers by 2019, subject to planning approval.

The second phase of the line will aim to link to the city centre with employment sites on the edge of the city.

Under the long-term plans for the tramway, there will be 12 stops including Deepdale Shopping Park, Preston North End’s Deepdale Stadium, and the University of Central Lancashire.

Trams would run at six-minute intervals throughout the day, and would use existing railway infrastructure for most its length, with some on-street tramway planned for later stages.

Planning permission for the first phase was granted in November 2016, and Preston Trampower aims to submit a full application for the entire line in 2018.

The project is being financed through private investment without any direct public funding. The professional team includes MCK Architects.

Lewis Lesley, technical director for Preston Trampower said: “We’ve all seen how the Manchester Metrolink has been instrumental in the growth of that city and I have no doubt that a Preston tram system can provide a huge shot in the arm for the city’s economy.

“We’ve put years of hard work and detailed research into this project. By utilising existing rail infrastructure, we can deliver this tramway with the minimum of disruption to residents and motorists. While only a small section of track is being built initially, we’re confident the full Guild Line can soon become a reality.”

Diane Bourne, managing director of Eric Wright Civil Engineering, said: “Signing this memorandum of understanding is an important milestone and reassures the people who live and work in Preston that the new tramway is coming.

“As a local contractor with a strong heritage across Preston, we’re very proud to be leading the project. We’re looking forward to starting on site and delivering a quality scheme that meets local need and that the community can be proud of.

“City centre tramway projects are proven to bring numerous benefits and we’re aiming to replicate this same success within Preston.”

Your Comments

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Even in the CGI’s its p1ssing it down in Preston.

By Alan

A place like Preston gets a tram and great cities like LEEDS do not? What an odd country..Suppose we all have to be glad of the scraps Westminster send us?

By Schwyz

Good luck to Preston with this, will Liverpool ever see a tram or light railway addition?

By Liverpolitis

I suppose we’ll have to make do with and electrified underground. @Liverpolitis

By John

Maybe if Leeds Council weren’t all a bunch of luddites that city too would have a tram system by now. Good on Preston for showing ambition

By Anonymous

I’ve seen the work Lewis Lesley and his team have put into this tram project and applaud Preston Council for making it happen.

If only we could have dragged Bury council to the table we might have seen his work connecting Rossendale, Bury and Rochdale.

By Mis-Manager

The reason why the places in the North West are doing so well is because they work together and understand the pecking order. In Yorkshire they bicker amongst themselves and therefore they continue to stall. Manchester and Liverpool are the driving forces,along with Manchester airport and Warrington. The rest know that if they co-operate they too will benefit. You still have people in Shipley moaning about not wanting to be part of Bradford. Parochial , and frankly in 2018,pathetic.

By Elephant

And yet Yorkshire is booming.


Everyone is getting trams. Except Liverpool,

By Liver fella

You can’t move for underground stations in Liverpool.

By Man on a bicycle

Liverpool has an underground.

By Elephant

Been there for years, you can’t see them because they are underground.

By Man on a bicycle

Liverpool does indeed have an underground, but it’s a small circular 4 stops around the city centre. You still have to walk to Albert Dock, up to the Stadiums is a taxi ride etc. The underground doesn’t cover anything like the area a tram would…

By North Westerner

There are some underground stations but not an actual network and they’re not great for getting around the city centre. A modern tram would be great. Anyway well done Preston, turning into a proper city.

By The Jam

Expensive fixed line railways – will these be relevant in the world of the driverless car? As lovely as the ones in Manchester look, they don’t provide good value for money…

By depreston

Alan – I think that’s fair play, too many CGIs portray unrealistically good weather.

By Sten

Really good comment about driverless cars, although that’s not a tram/rail issue as much as re-opening the entire box on urbanism.

By Rich

It was only John who said we had an underground, but if rumours of future expansion are true we could have a few more including near to the KQ, but that could take a few years yet?

By Man on a bicycle

Liverpool underground is small but you can get all over Merseyside on it.

By Elephant

No Elephant you are confused.

By The Jam

Can’t knock Preston CC for pushing for the tram route, even if a relatively short line. Other larger, established cities should be working to implement their schemes, Preston as a relatively recent addition to the city status league and should be congratulated for their efforts not belittled…

By Rob

Liverpool wanted to develop a tram system, lots of land acquired and rail etc…but the Government would not allow them to have a contingency overdraft in case of overspend I believe.

By Man on a bicycle

@NorthWesterner you’ll be able to get to the new Bramley Moore Dock stadium by train in a few years straight from the underground. ;)

By John

All the Everton fans from Wrexham and north Wales will be pleased to hear that! Everton the “council’s club@, I

By Sue Denim