Ken Livingstone Talks Up Tram Plan

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 83 months ago
Ken Livingstone Talks Up Tram Plan

Struggling in the polls he may be, but Ken Livingstone has got a cunning plan: a plan for trams.

On a campaign visit to Wood Green earlier this week, the Labour candidate spoke of his desire to re-introduce trams to the streets of north London. Recognising that moving laterally between the capital's suburbs often requires a trip into the centre and back out again, he suggested that a series of routes running between Ealing, Wembley, and Wood Green would be a good solution.

Livingstone's fondness for the tram is well documented. As Mayor he pushed forward a Cross-River Tram between King's Cross and Peckham, one of the first transport projects axed by Boris, and something that would be re-started under a third Livingstone term. He also sought to bring a service called the West London Tram, modelled on Croydon Tramlink, to Ealing, but the plan collapsed in 2007 following local protests. In fact, the former Mayor's apparently insatiable thirst for the trolleycar extended to a quixotic (and utterly charming if improbable) plan to ban cars from Oxford Street and replace them with.... yep, trams. And all this time we thought the newt was his first love.

What does Ken's one-size-fits-all approach to transport problems mean for his re-election chances? Not much. His campaign is focused on attacking Boris Johnson over failures on the Tube network, with the perception being that this is one of the incumbent's few weak points. Yet as we discovered earlier this week, it doesn't seem to be gelling in the mind of your average voter. Pie-in-the-sky tram projects will thrill transport infrastructure geeks and may tempt a few ballot box dilemmas in the outer boroughs but it's not really an effective platform from which to mount a plausible comeback.

Last Updated 23 June 2011


We need a monorail system in London, just like they had on The Simpsons

Ally Pally

As a Hornsey resident I like the idea. The bus connections through North London don't really compare to the tube (and as such, Crouch End, Ally Pally and Muswell Hill suffer for it) and a tram might do the trick. However.... where exactly is it going to go?

The only straight forward route you could run a tram down across North London would be the North Circular. Is there any more room to convert one of its lanes to tram? The North Circ doesn't cut through the important metropolitan centres anyway. So will it be a zigzag route? In which case it will be a very long ride with lots of bendy trams.Wood Green is a mad place to start it anyway, there is no decent through route to the west. You'd want to start at Bounds Green (but who wants to go there?) or Turnpike Lane (very close to Wood Green so a better start point). From there you can find a decent route as far as Hampstead before being forced down to central London or onto the North Circ.


Surely parts of London that don't have a tube line anywhere near them deserve a tram more.
What the area from Richmond to Kingston to Sutton for starters.

Ken - get your google maps out and compare how many tube stations exist in the general (Richmond to Kingston to Sutton) area versus the (Ealing to Wembley to Wood Green ) environs.

Trams are ideal for Outer London, but Ken's wrong about the area that needs them most.
Maybe that's why he announced this a week after visiting Kingson, which transport wise is by far the least well served major centre within London. Major investment should be driven by demonstrable need, not political considerations.

Brent Cross

You can search for the 'North and West London Light Railway' for a suggested system, which does NOT run on the roads, and would join the various major development areas.

In the west, it could start at either Ealing Broadway, or at the new HS2 / Crossrail station at Old Oak Common.

It would join the two branches of the Northern Line, partly on the pre-1939 route, and then could, indeed, follow the wide North Circular Road corridor, at least as far east as New Southgate and Arnos Grove stations.