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Trams for Bath does not have access to the specialised information necessary to make an accurate estimate of all possible costs. These estimates are based on the best information available at the time.

The major costs were originally identified in 1999; a second, more detailed, costing exercise was undertaken in 2006 in response to a request from Bath & N.E.Somerset Council.

Although both costings were submitted to the Council at their own request, nothing further has been heard of them, despite several requests for progress reports.


COSTS 1999 

ROUTE-DEPENDENT COSTS 2006 as static Excel spreadsheet [1.2MB]

SERVICE-LEVEL-DEPENDENT COSTS 2006 as static Excel spreadsheet [16kB]

COMBINED 2006 COSTS as dynamic Claris Works 4 spreadsheet [370kB]


The construction costs of most tramway projects in Britain have been much higher than these estimates suggest, partly because they were altogether heavier projects and partly because they were used as an opportunity to rebuild civic infrastructure. For example, some parts of the Manchester Metrolink cost up to 30 times the basic track cost per kilometre because sections of Manchester city centre were rebuilt as part of the project.

The above estimates are based on the costs of materials and labour only, they do not take account of the legal and administrative costs which could triple the actual cost of a practical project in the U.K. (although not in the rest of the world).

In recent years, the most serious cause of unnecessarily high tramway costs across the U.K. has been a combination of inappropriate application of safety and other legislation, government indecision and perfidy and a general lack of practical tramway construction skills. These risk factors are now reflected in the high prices which tenderers for tramway projects in the U.K. are obliged to charge in order to cover themselves against losses.

Apparently minor changes to the design of the system can have major repercussions in costs. For instance the adoption of articulated single-decked vehicles will not only double depôt costs but could necessitate a more expensive track structure and layout.

The costs calculated for Bath represent a minimal 'no-frills' system and are based specifically on TfB proposals. They may not be applicable to other systems of different design.


More information on Route lengths

More on Financing a Tramway

Viability of the project

How other tramways were financed

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