Tuesday 13 October 2020

"All aboard, for the Cobridge Traffic Lights...!"

"Multi-million pound plans unveiled for tram network in Stoke-on-Trent". With the proposed line going from Tunstall - Burslem - Waterloo Road / Cobridge Traffic Lights - Hanley - then splitting into a Stoke Station spur and a Longton line. I assume it would be an on-road system, rather than using the city's Greenways which are now dedicated to walkers and cyclists.

Great idea, and now's the right time to start getting the government to offer the cash to fund all the planning and feasibility studies. But, judging by my experience of the unpleasant West Bromwich tram line, I'd suggest some baseline requirements. When I was last on it the West Brom line had uncomfortable seats, and rattling and juddering and generally noisy trams. I'd suggest that Stoke's line should aim to be:

* fitted with comfy seats, not rock-hard bum-chillers and hip-grinders. Yes, I know you have to deter seat-hogging drunks, who would stay on and yob and sleep all day if you let them. But there must be other ways to deter such things.

* have bus-style forward-facing seats, not side-facing, for less travel-sickness when moving.

* be as whisper-quiet and vibration-free as possible, both inside and out.

I presume the technology has moved on since the 1980s/90s style trams, and such requirements should now be within reach of a high-quality high-tech approach for the 2030s. Perhaps the city's push to be an 'advanced materials' hub could feed into this new tram project, by developing the vibration-absorbing and noise-damping materials needed to deliver a far more pleasant tram-travel experience?

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