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Could tram line ease Dartford Crossing congestion by further 10 per cent?

PUBLISHED: 10:40 12 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:40 12 May 2017

Drawing of proposed tram lines

Drawing of proposed tram lines

Archant

A tram linking north Kent and Essex across the Thames is being proposed

What 200 people look like in carsWhat 200 people look like in cars

The idea of a tram line running to further ease congestion of the Dartford Crossing is being developed.

The £6billion Lower Thames Crossing east of Gravesend, confirmed last month, will ease Dartford Crossing congestion by 14 per cent, but with more than 50 million people using it per year, a tram system is being proposed as way to reduce it by a further 10 per cent.

Gordon Pratt, from London and Southern Counties Railway Consortium (LSCRC), a group established in 2016, to arrange delivering the Brighton Main Line two, has identified and drawn up three tram lines.

One line would go from Grays to Greenhithe - stationed at Bluewater, including multiple stops within Ebbsfleet Garden City.

What 200 people look like in a tramWhat 200 people look like in a tram

Another would go from Grays to the proposed London Paramount resort at Swanscombe, and a final line linking the theme park to its car park.

Finance experts from Thames Transit say the projected cost of the tram line is £600 million.

He said: “It’s cheaper because we don’t have to provide for four lanes, it will just been one tram line there and back.

“The case is simple; roads are often gridlocked, pollution is affecting the public’s health, connectivity across the Thames is often disrupted, classic rail connections are slow, and the area is now unattractive for investment.

“Because of my involvement with the LSCRC, a privately financed project, I know the money is available for investment in rail infrastructure, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to firm up it up soon.”

James Willis, Liberal Democrat candidate for Gravesham, said: “Nothing is being done about public transport across the Thames. At present, there is a small ferry and a slow bus service that crosses, but that carries less than one per cent of crossing traffic.

“This would also be faster, cheaper, and more frequent than rail services between Grays and Northfleet, which require people to go into London first.”

However, Bob Lane, chairman of the Lower Thames Crossing Association said: “I haven’t got any thoughts on this proposal because I don’t think the government will listen to it anyway.”

Highways England chief Jim O’Sullivan declined to comment on the proposal but said: “The crossing decision is underpinned by years of studies, assessments and consideration of the response to our 2016 consultation. As we progress there will be further consultation and opportunities to be part of shaping the detail for the area, now and for future generations.”

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