A decision on long-term funding for the Supertram network is expected from Government by the end of the year.
In September SYPTE launched a consultation on the future of the network, which it says needs extensive investment to renew the infrastructure and the ageing tram leet. There are no funds set aside for renewals and SYPTE is seeking £230 million from central government to allow the system to keep running for another 30 years (p13, last month).
Modern Railways understands SYPTE is seeking a similar funding package to those agreed with Manchester Metrolink and others, which provides loans to be repaid from future revenues or local taxation. Conirming that the threat of closure is more to do with ensuring all options are put forward as part of the evaluation process, rather than a serious proposition, an SYPTE spokesperson told Modern Railways ‘We have to go through the process and that’s one of the options to look at’.
The consultation exercise launched in September forms part of work to develop a business case for investment. SYPTE is also keen to learn from other systems where expansion has prompted increased usage, admitting there is a similar expectation in Sheffield and that options to extend the network may also form part of the evaluation process.