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Note for developers on tramway proposals






There is a need for public transport to and from the Western Riverside. The site must be linked to all of Bath and to the surrounding and national transport system.

Deliveries and some personal journeys will have to be undertaken by road, the site will need provision for this.

Many personal journeys could be made by public transport, thus reducing the necessity for land-wasting roads and car parks. A good quality public transport system would not only give the benefits of reduced car usage, but would enhance the value of the site in many other ways.



The current public transport systems in Bath have become the transport of last resort and would not be acceptable to many people using the site.

Some of the features of a public transport system which might help to make it a viable alternative to the motor car could be provided by bus, but attempts to do so have proven uneconomical in both the short and long term. The tram has a proven record of attracting motorists away from their cars without the need for operating subsidies.

A tramway represents a long-term investment in the infrastructure of an area, it is the perceived permanence and long-term reliability of this which enhances the value of land and property, and encourages regeneration.



There are few obvious corridors of movement in the Bath area that are amenable to public transport development. The traffic that regularly jams certain major routes will not be removed by a point-to-point public transport corridor. This is because residential, retail and employment areas are geographically scattered and complex journey patterns are the norm in Bath. A mixed development on the Western Riverside site is also expected to fit in with this pattern.

The public transport system must be directly accessible to as many residents and visitors as possible - if a car journey is needed for access, public transport will have failed in its purpose. A network of routes is the only way of achieving success in Bath.

The facilities for interchange between routes are of particular importance, this must be made easy so that a 'seamless' journey results. With the proposed tram system. no more than one straightforward interchange between routes will be necessary during any journey.
Interchange arrangements




A double-track tramway will fit easily into an alignment 9 metres wide and this can be shared with other modes under appropriate circumstances. At 'pinch-points', a width of 3 metres is sufficient for a single track section, provided there are passing loops within a sensible distance each side.



Tram stops require a ramped section of pavement about 300mm above the track level and the alignment needs to be widened by about 2m each side to accommodate the waiting area. Where space is restricted, stops do not need to be placed in pairs opposite each other, they can be staggered or a single central waiting area can be used.
More on stopping arrangements

Experience shows that intending passengers prefer a direct route onto the tramstop. If this is not provided, there will be continual problems from people taking short-cuts and breaking down any fences and barriers.

Tram stops can be located inside buildings. This is particularly desirable at large interchanges, in prestige developments which intend to promote the use of public transport and at hospitals where frail patients must be protected from the weather.
More on tram stops



Tram tracks are usually rolled steel grooved-girder rail, set in resilient mastic in a concrete base. The strength of the supporting structure will depend on the maximum vehicle weight - in the case of the TfB proposals around 20 tonnes fully laden. This will be spread over 4 axles with 8 wheels; and further spread by the rails themselves.  Dynamic loading needs to be considered, but nowadays the resilient mastic reduces the heavy rumbling shocks which were so characteristic of older trams .
More on rails

Tramways are designed so that the alignment can be safely shared with other transport and pedestrians. The 'swept path' of the tram is marked out (often with a different coloured paving) to bring it to the attention of other road users.

Cycle paths are a special case and whenever possible should be segregated from tram tracks. The currently proposed longitudinal cycle path through the Western Riverside is alongside the river, remote from the proposed tramway alignment, and will not need any special consideration.
More on cycling safety

Overhead wires are not as unsightly as may be supposed. In some large industrial towns the supporting structures have been criticised for poor æsthetic design, but the criteria for good design are well known and should be applied early in the planning process. Elegant tramway poles are used as a feature of an attractive street environment in some towns.
More on the appearance of the wires

Communications and power ducts alongside the track are essential for the tramway's own puposes and sometime extra duct space can be provided for other services needing to follow a similar route. A tramway could be beneficial in the provision of a communications 'spine' for the site.



There are a number of places on the Western Riverside site where north-south routes might intersect the tramway. At present there is a disused railway embankment along the proposed alignment and a number of bridge abutments remain at these road-crossing points.

A tramway can cross lightly-trafficked routes, such as these, 'at grade' without the need for bridges or other structures; so the embankment could be removed or used for some other purpose without any detrimental consequences for the tramway. The major intersections all coincide with desirable stopping places for the tram, so speeds at these points will be low and no special safety precautions would be needed.

It is important for cycling safety that any possible cycle intersections are set at right angles to the track.
More on cycling safety



Contractors' plant such as gas, water or electricity mains should not be located beneath the tramway in such a position that acess or repair of the plant would necessitate closure of the tramway. During construction, suitable ducts or 'bridges' should be incorporated to allow replacement of fauly plant where this is unavoidably located underneath the alignment.



A depöt will be required for the tramway. This could usefully be located on the Western Riverside site in an industrial area.
More on depôt location



The proposed tramway is a single route through the site in an east-west direction. Only two points of access are required. At the western end of the site, access is required into Windsor Bridge Road where two local routes will diverge to the north and the south. At the eastern end of the site, the existing Green Park Station approach ramp is adequate to carry the services into James Street West and into the City Centre Circle.
Proposed routes off site

During the initial phases of a tramway, it is sensible to relocate or curtail some bus services so as to feed into the existing tramway routes pending completion of the network. A suitable location for a transport interchange should be identified at the western end of the site. The existing bus stops in the city centre will serve the eastern end.


Map Ref:  Feature

 1 Old railway alignment to west This should be reserved for a future longer distance transport link. It is isolated from the surrounding area.
 2 Proposed tramway routes Tram routes diverge to north and south, serving residential areas and hospital.
 3 'Gasworks Square' Public transport interchange during early phase, to integrate with local buses
 4 Midland Road crossing Crossing at grade. Tramstop desirable in this area will automatically slow trams for safe crossing. Can be further north if required depending on land use
 5 Victoria Bridge Road crossing As above, except: Tramstop needs to be near southern site boundary to serve hotel in Brougham Hayes

 6 Homebase site No preferred alignment here, will depend on site uses. Residential area to SE covered by other routes
 7 River Crossing (picture) Existing bridge footings should be used if possible.
 8 Sainsbury's car park Could form prestigious public amenity 'gateway' to site. Enhanced by tramstop.
 9 Station approach ramp Wide enough to allow tram access without modification.
 10 City Centre Circular route links to the city and other destinations.

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