Thanet Light Rapid Transit
Could Thanet one day have a light rail network?
Imaging jumping on a train\tram to do the days shopping with stops at Westwood Cross for "fashion", Ramsgate for Books and History and Margate for a pub lunch and a donkey ride. It all sounds a bit far fetched but it's not totally beyond possible.
The Thanet Light Rapid Transit enthusiasts have already began pressing KCC and national transport ministers to make it a reality:
Thanet is possibly the most underrated part of Britain. Says Richard Jalabhay,
The airport needs a direct rail link, congestion at Westwood needs to be relieved and the entire economy of Thanet needs a new driver.
That's a hard line to argue with. Keep reading to find out some more of the advantages of such a scheme and how it might be implemented.
Advantages of Light Rail:
- Reduces car and bus pollution, both by reducing the number of vehicles on the roads and by reducing traffic jams.
- One line of light rail has more than 8 times the capacity of one line of road during peak times.
- Average car occupancy during peak periods is 1.2.
- Reliability of services is greater than those of buses both in reality and in people‘s perceptions.
- On average Light Rail costs about a fifth of the amount it takes to construct Heavy Rail (10 million pounds per mile compared with 50 million pounds per mile).
- Increases general mobility by linking places of residence directly with work, schools, leisure, retail outlets, etc and makes journeys feasible without a car; ‘Connecting Communities’.
- Economic benefits; connectedness, mobility, reduced congestion, increased status of area.
Three step plan
According to the groups Facebook Profile the project would be built in three Phases:
Phase 1: Building of Light Rail line between Ramsgate and Margate stations, with stops at Nethercourt/Tescos, Kent International Airport, Westwood Cross, Westwood Industries and QEQM Hospital. A flyover would carry the tracks across the Westwood Cross road junction. This would involve track sharing with heavy rail for approx. 1 mile west of Ramsgate station and for approx. 1 mile east of Margate station. The new track would be fully grade separated. A map is provided below.
Phase 2: The opening up of the existing track of Thanet's railway to use of the light rail vehicles, with additional stops, cutting back of local heavy rail services to integrate TLRT with Javelins better. Opening up of old tunnel down to Ramsgate seafront providing a stop there to allow services to inner Ramsgate.
Phase 3: There are a number of possibilities for this phase. They include trams in Cliftonville, use of existing tunnels (widened) beneath Ramsgate to provide direct access to centre, trams to Sandwich's industrial area and connecting Port Ramsgate.
It's easy to see how this could be a significant advantage to Thanet indirectly creating a lot more growth and job opportunities than Thanet Earth or the China Gateway. It's hard to deny that congestion in Thanet lacks any real answers and it sound attractively put.
One concern of mine is that the town centres are not more prominently taken care of in the phase one plan. However, overall I can see a lot of potential in the idea.
What do you think such a scheme (assuming it get's the green light from KCC) might do for the area?