Return of the trams to Southampton?

One of the new generation of trams in Manchester

One of the new generation of trams in Manchester

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Feature Writer

TRAMS could be making a dramatic return to Southampton almost 60 years after they ran last ran along the city’s streets, the Daily Echo can reveal.

The council’s leisure boss believes a fleet of trams operating in the Old Town and the waterfront would prove a major tourism boost and could help cut traffic congestion.

The ambitious transport scheme was included in a new arts and heritage vision aimed at broadening the city’s image to visitors and outlines the city’s ambition to be European Capital of Culture for 2020.

In a damning assessment, the report said Southampton was perceived as a place to just shop, eat and catch cruises.

Councillor John Hannides, Cabinet member for leisure, culture and heritage, said the reintroduction of the tram– which operates in cities such as Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield – was an ambition for the Conservative-controlled council.

“Incorporating the tram as part of our transport network would be a marvellous addition and a great attraction and it would encourage more people to visit the Old Town and the waterfront,” he said.

Electric trams were a familiar sight in Southampton for exactly 50 years, from 1879 to 1949, and were as much a part of the city scene as the huge ships sailing up and down the Solent.

The 32-mile route covered most of the city, until the tracks were ripped up and trams replaced by the more versatile bus.

“For me, the most disappointing thing in the last 20 years has been the lack of planning to incorporate something like the trams,” Cllr Hannides added.

“They are quite an evocative mode of transport, it reignites that feeling of nostalgia and history.

They are also novel, but because they are rare these days but I think that adds to their appeal.

“We are going to look into money for a feasibility study, and approach funding partners, but first and foremost we need to identify where it could go.”

Cllr Hannides said the Old Town could be reconnected with the waterfront by running a tram from Town Quay across to Ocean Village.

“In an ideal world I would also like to see it as a practical facility for residents and visitors to use, but right now we don’t have enough information to be able to say if that is a direction we could follow.

“The purpose behind the vision is so that we can provide a guidance so people can start planning it and looking at what options we’ve got.”

The Old Town tramis one of a number of proposals included in the 30-page report, which sets out Southampton’s ambition of becoming a serious candidate for a European Capital of Culture title from 2020.

It states that currently “Southampton is not perceived as a cultural city by people who visit. They will shop in West- Quay, eat and then leave.”

The report adds that visitors hunting for the city’s sea and maritime heritage – one of the few cultural associations strong enough to lure visitors – are left “disappointed with what they find.”

The centrepiece is a £30m hitech climb aboard Titanic exhibition as part of the new heritage centre earmarked for the Civic Centre, as revealed by the Daily Echo in July.

The council is desperate for the exhibition to be open in time for the 100th anniversary of the disaster in 2012.

Another key project is the £16m development of the cultural quarter in Northern Above Bar with a revamped Guildhall square and arts complex.

The Old Town will also become a “historic quarter” with the £6m revamp of Tudor House alongside the development of public arts, the art vaults concept – putting contemporary art in medieval locations beneath Southampton – and making the most of city’s medieval walls with initiatives such as artistic lighting schemes.

The vision also wants to promote more “hidden history” style interactive audio tours of the city and the sees the state-of-the-art redevelopment of the Solent Sky Museum as important to promote the city’s aviation heritage, alongside a Daily Echo backed £1.5m permanent memorial to the Spitfire.

It also sets out milestones to be celebrated such as the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen living in the city next year, the centenary of Southampton Airport in 2010 and the 75th anniversary of the maiden flight of the Spitfire in 2011.

The opening of the waterfront at Royal Pier and Mayflower Park could also pave the way for a “maritime cultural experience”, the vision says, with a docks viewing area and interpretation centre, and public berth for displaying of historic floating vessels.

Scottish developers Kilmartin have recently been asked by the council to come up with a masterplan for district.

“The city has a fantastic opportunity over the next twenty years to create a vibrant cultural heart, a sense of identity and uniqueness that connects people to each other and to Southampton as a place,” Cllr Hannides said.

  • To read the council's report "Towards a City of Culture" click the link in the 'Related Links' section on the right.

Comments (25)

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11:00am Tue 30 Sep 08

rich the stitch says...

"In a damning assessment, the report said Southampton was perceived as a place to just shop, eat and catch cruises." They missed out looking and lots of half built block of flats, get stuck in traffic, seeing gangs of 15yr old single mums smoking fags over their kids and hanging around the streets or fearing for your life due to the Chavs and scumsbags who live in Thornhill, Townhill Park etc.
"In a damning assessment, the report said Southampton was perceived as a place to just shop, eat and catch cruises." They missed out looking and lots of half built block of flats, get stuck in traffic, seeing gangs of 15yr old single mums smoking fags over their kids and hanging around the streets or fearing for your life due to the Chavs and scumsbags who live in Thornhill, Townhill Park etc. rich the stitch
  • Score: 0

11:28am Tue 30 Sep 08

H.R.H. KING MUSH says...

rich the stitch wrote:
"In a damning assessment, the report said Southampton was perceived as a place to just shop, eat and catch cruises." They missed out looking and lots of half built block of flats, get stuck in traffic, seeing gangs of 15yr old single mums smoking fags over their kids and hanging around the streets or fearing for your life due to the Chavs and scumsbags who live in Thornhill, Townhill Park etc.
LOL

Mind you - the same could be said for any port in any country of the world?

Woe betide any cruise passenger in a hire car who takes a wrong turning in Miami and ends up in SERIOUS doo-doo just a few blocks away from the antiseptic area of a cruise terminal. NY Harbour - only a few miles away from dodgy areas etc


Soton isnt that bad and we do keep picking on the scummy minority which infest most council estates.

I recall seeing trams up in Blackpool and asked a passing policeman if I would get a shock by putting my foot on the rail on the ground.

Plod:


"Only if you **** your other leg over that cable up there!"
[quote][bold]rich the stitch[/bold] wrote: "In a damning assessment, the report said Southampton was perceived as a place to just shop, eat and catch cruises." They missed out looking and lots of half built block of flats, get stuck in traffic, seeing gangs of 15yr old single mums smoking fags over their kids and hanging around the streets or fearing for your life due to the Chavs and scumsbags who live in Thornhill, Townhill Park etc. [/quote]LOL Mind you - the same could be said for any port in any country of the world? Woe betide any cruise passenger in a hire car who takes a wrong turning in Miami and ends up in SERIOUS doo-doo just a few blocks away from the antiseptic area of a cruise terminal. NY Harbour - only a few miles away from dodgy areas etc Soton isnt that bad and we do keep picking on the scummy minority which infest most council estates. I recall seeing trams up in Blackpool and asked a passing policeman if I would get a shock by putting my foot on the rail on the ground. Plod: "Only if you **** your other leg over that cable up there!" H.R.H. KING MUSH
  • Score: 0

11:29am Tue 30 Sep 08

H.R.H. KING MUSH says...

lol@ my faux pas above


I only wrote " C O C K your other leg........"
lol@ my faux pas above I only wrote " C O C K your other leg........" H.R.H. KING MUSH
  • Score: 0

11:39am Tue 30 Sep 08

goard says...

Who on earth is running Soton? what side of this City are the quangos (I call all controlling bodies quangos) running. May I point out to these controlling bodies ' who on earth are or what are you controlling. Is it us? is it interests that will enhance this City? or is it down and out personal interest to enhance one's further interest in the EU? Onward and outward. To hell with the people how about one's ambitions to stray abroad? Are you entirely happy with being called a 'traitor'?
Harsh, I appreciate, but any move you make we, the bloggers, will be behind you!

goard
Who on earth is running Soton? what side of this City are the quangos (I call all controlling bodies quangos) running. May I point out to these controlling bodies ' who on earth are or what are you controlling. Is it us? is it interests that will enhance this City? or is it down and out personal interest to enhance one's further interest in the EU? Onward and outward. To hell with the people how about one's ambitions to stray abroad? Are you entirely happy with being called a 'traitor'? Harsh, I appreciate, but any move you make we, the bloggers, will be behind you! goard goard
  • Score: 0

11:59am Tue 30 Sep 08

Denzil says...

What an excellent idea. It would be just like Amsterdam, maybe we could get some decent hookers in aswell.
What an excellent idea. It would be just like Amsterdam, maybe we could get some decent hookers in aswell. Denzil
  • Score: 0

11:59am Tue 30 Sep 08

Bill Shatner says...

perhaps a tram won't be so bad so long as they dont charge the earth for it. We need to move parking outside of the city centre. The Council has been saying this for years. Their answer was to place restricted parking in the city centre (which was sensible) however rather than lay on park and ride schemes they have meerly expanded the zone of pay and display and reduced funding for the busses. Result, any road without double yellows is now impassable during working hours. I can see the same happening here. "We now have trams so we need fewer busses, lets cut funding" up go the bus fayres "the trams are struggliing to pay for themselves lets increase the prices and their funding" Up go bus and tram prices up go the number of cars in the city centre... Finally " the trams have not made the sort of return predicted the company we tried to sell them to isn't interested so we have to terminate the service" the net result of which will just be a load of tramlines ruining the cities roads and a massive public debt forcing ever increasing council tax. The only was any change to the cities transport can reasonably made is with heavy public subsady and as part of an integrated transport policy featuring a works park an ride scheme.
perhaps a tram won't be so bad so long as they dont charge the earth for it. We need to move parking outside of the city centre. The Council has been saying this for years. Their answer was to place restricted parking in the city centre (which was sensible) however rather than lay on park and ride schemes they have meerly expanded the zone of pay and display and reduced funding for the busses. Result, any road without double yellows is now impassable during working hours. I can see the same happening here. "We now have trams so we need fewer busses, lets cut funding" up go the bus fayres "the trams are struggliing to pay for themselves lets increase the prices and their funding" Up go bus and tram prices up go the number of cars in the city centre... Finally " the trams have not made the sort of return predicted the company we tried to sell them to isn't interested so we have to terminate the service" the net result of which will just be a load of tramlines ruining the cities roads and a massive public debt forcing ever increasing council tax. The only was any change to the cities transport can reasonably made is with heavy public subsady and as part of an integrated transport policy featuring a works park an ride scheme. Bill Shatner
  • Score: 0

12:02pm Tue 30 Sep 08

Locksheathen says...

It'll give the tramps somewhere to sleep. Quite warm inside i'd guess?
It'll give the tramps somewhere to sleep. Quite warm inside i'd guess? Locksheathen
  • Score: 0

12:33pm Tue 30 Sep 08

Condor Man says...

If it can get busses off the it could only be a good thing. Hike the fares up to keep the chavs firmly routed in Thornhill and Millbrook too.
If it can get busses off the it could only be a good thing. Hike the fares up to keep the chavs firmly routed in Thornhill and Millbrook too. Condor Man
  • Score: 0

12:53pm Tue 30 Sep 08

SotonJohn says...

This idea was floated about 20 years ago. The then Labour council supporter it, but the Tories opposed it and because it required a special parliamentary bill to go forward used their majority at Westminster to ensure it failed. Nice to see that at last the Tories realise what damaged they did to the city by not not supporting the idea at that time.
This idea was floated about 20 years ago. The then Labour council supporter it, but the Tories opposed it and because it required a special parliamentary bill to go forward used their majority at Westminster to ensure it failed. Nice to see that at last the Tories realise what damaged they did to the city by not not supporting the idea at that time. SotonJohn
  • Score: 0

1:28pm Tue 30 Sep 08

Rob444 says...

".. a fleet of trams operating in the Old Town and the waterfront would prove a major tourism boost and could help cut traffic congestion."

Why are most new projects in Southampton carried out in a half-hearted manner. Trams are a serious alternative to cars, but the proposal is for them to be a novelty in a very small area of town. If we are going to have trams, then let's have them replacing bus routes. That way, the people of Southampton could benefit from them instead of just the tourists.
".. a fleet of trams operating in the Old Town and the waterfront would prove a major tourism boost and could help cut traffic congestion." Why are most new projects in Southampton carried out in a half-hearted manner. Trams are a serious alternative to cars, but the proposal is for them to be a novelty in a very small area of town. If we are going to have trams, then let's have them replacing bus routes. That way, the people of Southampton could benefit from them instead of just the tourists. Rob444
  • Score: 0

1:43pm Tue 30 Sep 08

PISTOLPETE says...

I live outside soton and work in the Ocean Village area. I haven't visited Southampton centre for a while as fighting my way in through traffic, trying to find a parking space and then paying for the privilage don't appeal. Saturady afternoon if there's a football match is gridlock. Ocean Village is not served with any public transport so its a car ( a bike is too dangerous and too far) a tram system with park and ride into the centre surely would be a good idea? Our company is moving and there will be plenty of free car parking. If you make it too expensive people will move out- including businesses/entertain
ment venues
I live outside soton and work in the Ocean Village area. I haven't visited Southampton centre for a while as fighting my way in through traffic, trying to find a parking space and then paying for the privilage don't appeal. Saturady afternoon if there's a football match is gridlock. Ocean Village is not served with any public transport so its a car ( a bike is too dangerous and too far) a tram system with park and ride into the centre surely would be a good idea? Our company is moving and there will be plenty of free car parking. If you make it too expensive people will move out- including businesses/entertain ment venues PISTOLPETE
  • Score: 0

1:58pm Tue 30 Sep 08

Duncan Disorderly says...

At Crich in the Peak District there's a tramway museum, with an old Southampton Corporation open-top tram. On the seats upstairs are signs saying "Passengers are advised to lower their heads while passing through the Bargate".
Trams should stay in a museum unless they can be put on a system separate from road traffic. Otherwise they just cause more congestion. Look at these free buses on city centre routes. They're scarcely used. The capital investment for a tramway system wouldn't be worth it.
At Crich in the Peak District there's a tramway museum, with an old Southampton Corporation open-top tram. On the seats upstairs are signs saying "Passengers are advised to lower their heads while passing through the Bargate". Trams should stay in a museum unless they can be put on a system separate from road traffic. Otherwise they just cause more congestion. Look at these free buses on city centre routes. They're scarcely used. The capital investment for a tramway system wouldn't be worth it. Duncan Disorderly
  • Score: 0

2:17pm Tue 30 Sep 08

chapelsaint says...

PISTOLPETE wrote:
I live outside soton and work in the Ocean Village area. I haven't visited Southampton centre for a while as fighting my way in through traffic, trying to find a parking space and then paying for the privilage don't appeal. Saturady afternoon if there's a football match is gridlock. Ocean Village is not served with any public transport so its a car ( a bike is too dangerous and too far) a tram system with park and ride into the centre surely would be a good idea? Our company is moving and there will be plenty of free car parking. If you make it too expensive people will move out- including businesses/entertain
ment venues
You could always try walking from Ocean Village!
[quote][bold]PISTOLPETE[/bold] wrote: I live outside soton and work in the Ocean Village area. I haven't visited Southampton centre for a while as fighting my way in through traffic, trying to find a parking space and then paying for the privilage don't appeal. Saturady afternoon if there's a football match is gridlock. Ocean Village is not served with any public transport so its a car ( a bike is too dangerous and too far) a tram system with park and ride into the centre surely would be a good idea? Our company is moving and there will be plenty of free car parking. If you make it too expensive people will move out- including businesses/entertain ment venues[/quote]You could always try walking from Ocean Village! chapelsaint
  • Score: 0

2:23pm Tue 30 Sep 08

thesaint says...

great idea at last some imagnation being shown after that fiasco with the latest airfix spitfire design.
great idea at last some imagnation being shown after that fiasco with the latest airfix spitfire design. thesaint
  • Score: 0

2:24pm Tue 30 Sep 08

obelisker says...

Every day there is some ridiculous twaddle being spewed out by SCC via it's Echo mouthpiece. There are swarms of buses around the city, what the hell do we need trams for, the disruption and set up costs would be astronomical. Why can't they just shut up and get on with their job,cleaning up this grotty City and making it a nicer place for it's citizens to live in.
Every day there is some ridiculous twaddle being spewed out by SCC via it's Echo mouthpiece. There are swarms of buses around the city, what the hell do we need trams for, the disruption and set up costs would be astronomical. Why can't they just shut up and get on with their job,cleaning up this grotty City and making it a nicer place for it's citizens to live in. obelisker
  • Score: 0

2:48pm Tue 30 Sep 08

goard says...

My mum went head over hills on one of the tram lines on her bike. We can all laugh now but at that time in Buller Road she was pushed into the gutter, unconscious, to let the trams go by. Her children were 5 and 8 and she spent two weeks in hospital with eyes like pouched eggs. In those days no authorised bodies took upon themselves to help a widow (father killed in the war at Supermarine) to recuperate with her children. Sorry, that is my memories of trams and I can look upon the help one can get now - sadly, we all think we are hard done by. The structure in helping one and another must never be lost - it is hard to believe just how society is taking care of one of its own now, with a support from the social services - we did not have it in our day and was pushed into a childrens home.

goard
My mum went head over hills on one of the tram lines on her bike. We can all laugh now but at that time in Buller Road she was pushed into the gutter, unconscious, to let the trams go by. Her children were 5 and 8 and she spent two weeks in hospital with eyes like pouched eggs. In those days no authorised bodies took upon themselves to help a widow (father killed in the war at Supermarine) to recuperate with her children. Sorry, that is my memories of trams and I can look upon the help one can get now - sadly, we all think we are hard done by. The structure in helping one and another must never be lost - it is hard to believe just how society is taking care of one of its own now, with a support from the social services - we did not have it in our day and was pushed into a childrens home. goard goard
  • Score: 0

3:46pm Tue 30 Sep 08

Tevez888 says...

After the death of Rita Sullivan's husband on Coronation Street to the Tram, I think I decline the idea!

Just how safe are these machines?

Just another ''Ice Rink'' idea me thinks!
After the death of Rita Sullivan's husband on Coronation Street to the Tram, I think I decline the idea! Just how safe are these machines? Just another ''Ice Rink'' idea me thinks! Tevez888
  • Score: 0

4:49pm Tue 30 Sep 08

Mr E says...

Its going to take More than a Tramline or Two to revive southampton.
Its going to take More than a Tramline or Two to revive southampton. Mr E
  • Score: 0

5:10pm Tue 30 Sep 08

H.R.H. KING MUSH says...

The Council reminds me of trams.


They've been going off the rails for years........
The Council reminds me of trams. They've been going off the rails for years........ H.R.H. KING MUSH
  • Score: 0

6:00pm Tue 30 Sep 08

Adrian Smith says...

obelisker wrote:
Every day there is some ridiculous twaddle being spewed out by SCC via it's Echo mouthpiece. There are swarms of buses around the city, what the hell do we need trams for, the disruption and set up costs would be astronomical. Why can't they just shut up and get on with their job,cleaning up this grotty City and making it a nicer place for it's citizens to live in.
Totally agree - trams are not the answer. Leverage the existing buses, more cycle routes and the occasional car free Sunday morning would be nice.
[quote][bold]obelisker[/bold] wrote: Every day there is some ridiculous twaddle being spewed out by SCC via it's Echo mouthpiece. There are swarms of buses around the city, what the hell do we need trams for, the disruption and set up costs would be astronomical. Why can't they just shut up and get on with their job,cleaning up this grotty City and making it a nicer place for it's citizens to live in.[/quote]Totally agree - trams are not the answer. Leverage the existing buses, more cycle routes and the occasional car free Sunday morning would be nice. Adrian Smith
  • Score: 0

9:12pm Tue 30 Sep 08

Andy Locks Heath says...

Agree with Rob, Obelisker, Adrian et all. We don't do long term transport planning in this country so there's no point in us assuming this will ever happen. Intesting though that in Manchester they are bucking the trend with a huge public transport infrastructure program funded by 30 years of congestion charging. It's not popular now but in 20 years time Mancunians are going to be mighty glad they did it.
Agree with Rob, Obelisker, Adrian et all. We don't do long term transport planning in this country so there's no point in us assuming this will ever happen. Intesting though that in Manchester they are bucking the trend with a huge public transport infrastructure program funded by 30 years of congestion charging. It's not popular now but in 20 years time Mancunians are going to be mighty glad they did it. Andy Locks Heath
  • Score: 0

9:25pm Tue 30 Sep 08

Miles Sway says...

If Manchester and others get it right it'll be fantastic - my guess is that with rising fuel costs, any city offering a properly integrated transport system with a low-cost, safe, reliable transport will have a real commercial advantage in attracting business'es and associated prosperity.
I for one would welcome it but unfortunately too many councils only see the cash they are squeezing out for parking etc.
If Manchester and others get it right it'll be fantastic - my guess is that with rising fuel costs, any city offering a properly integrated transport system with a low-cost, safe, reliable transport will have a real commercial advantage in attracting business'es and associated prosperity. I for one would welcome it but unfortunately too many councils only see the cash they are squeezing out for parking etc. Miles Sway
  • Score: 0

8:07am Wed 1 Oct 08

Kiwi says...

As a Blitz kid I have watched Southamptons regeneration over the years and I am appalled at the junk that each set of Council Town Planners have served up. No continuity of style and nothing that distinguishes the City Centre as something different.
West Quay was the latest of the monstrosities that sum up the jumbled thinking of the powers that be. These trams are just another example of an Ad Hoc set of Ideas that distinguish the City as a architectral scrapyard. By the way what happened to the Light Railway System that was to run from Gosport/Fareham/Sout
hampton/Totton Fawley?
As a Blitz kid I have watched Southamptons regeneration over the years and I am appalled at the junk that each set of Council Town Planners have served up. No continuity of style and nothing that distinguishes the City Centre as something different. West Quay was the latest of the monstrosities that sum up the jumbled thinking of the powers that be. These trams are just another example of an Ad Hoc set of Ideas that distinguish the City as a architectral scrapyard. By the way what happened to the Light Railway System that was to run from Gosport/Fareham/Sout hampton/Totton Fawley? Kiwi
  • Score: 0

8:29am Wed 1 Oct 08

Andy Locks Heath says...

Quite right Kiwi. The South East Hants rapid transit scheme was "consulted to death" over 15 years by politicians too scared to commit to anything that came in after their next election. As for the Waterside passenger reopening, that only gets mentioned at franchise renewal time, and even then it's a disingenuous lie by Brian Souter.
Quite right Kiwi. The South East Hants rapid transit scheme was "consulted to death" over 15 years by politicians too scared to commit to anything that came in after their next election. As for the Waterside passenger reopening, that only gets mentioned at franchise renewal time, and even then it's a disingenuous lie by Brian Souter. Andy Locks Heath
  • Score: 0

8:09pm Fri 3 Oct 08

johnlofitchen says...

I have been saying for years what this city needs is a modern 21st century transport system. I echo what Cncr John Hannides says that if Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and other cities in the UK can have trams or Metro systems , why can't we? Even some of the Eastern Block countries have better systems than we have. If so much money had not been wasted on useless monuments, like the cheese grater in Bevios valley then it could have gone towards something more useful. I'm sure if we had a modern tram system in Southampton, more people would use public transport.
I have been saying for years what this city needs is a modern 21st century transport system. I echo what Cncr John Hannides says that if Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and other cities in the UK can have trams or Metro systems , why can't we? Even some of the Eastern Block countries have better systems than we have. If so much money had not been wasted on useless monuments, like the cheese grater in Bevios valley then it could have gone towards something more useful. I'm sure if we had a modern tram system in Southampton, more people would use public transport. johnlofitchen
  • Score: 0
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