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Tram plans take Medway back to the future

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THE first two routes for Medway's new-style tram system could cost £250 million, according to consultants.

The Medway Transit - which requires local authority and Government approval - is still thought to be more than 10 years away and development over the next nine years could cost £6 million.

But the consultants, Mouchel Consulting, expect it to attract 12 million passengers a year and make an annual operating profit of about £1.25 million.

They also expect it to cut local car use by seven per cent.

The first route, Line 1, would run from Strood to Gillingham Business Park, and could be extended to Hempstead Valley in the future.

It would avoid Chatham Hill, operating through Rochester, Riverside, Chatham, Brompton and Gillingham.

Line 2 would run from St Mary's Island to Chatham and towards Rochester Airport.

The trams would use reserved tracks similar to the one that used to exist from Gillingham to Rainham. Where the trams are forced to use the normal road they would have priority over other traffic.

A report to Thursday night's environment overview committee tells councillors that the study was only to look at the centre and eastern parts of Medway.

"Future detailed studies must identify a total network serving all areas of Medway," the report says.

Author, Steve Humphrey, is one of the assistant directors in the development and environment department at the council.

He has warned that there will have to be a fundamental review of public transport in Medway.

The detailed report has only just been given to Medway's Cabinet and chief officers.

It is expected to be discussed in detail at the end of next month, once the report has been scrutinised.

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