Light rail, not heavy says Paul Rowen

September 19, 2007 12:00 AM

Rochdale MP Paul Rowen has told transport bosses to, "look no further than Greater Manchester for an example of all-party campaigning for trams." Mr Rowen was speaking at a fringe meeting on the 'Future of Light Rail' at the Lib Dem Conference in Brighton.

Mr Rowen told the meeting: "The Government has got to stop treating light rail like heavy rail. The failure of Network Rail and the Department for Transport to do this costs millions. Work is starting on the Rochdale line next year and it is a symbol of all-party political unity. Unlike many places in Britain who have had their schemes scrapped we have kept on working together. I would like to praise the dogged determination of people like Councillor Roger Jones, the chairman of the GMPTE who has fought hard in our successful campaign.

"Politics has been put to one side and that is why this time next year work will be starting in my home town. I invite all of you to come and see the significant progress we are making. If you look in places like Lyon, their tram system has been hugely successful and that is what I'd like see across the country. Starting of course in Greater Manchester."

Mr Rowen is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Light Rail.

The Fringe Meeting that Mr Rowen organised will take place at all three major political party conferences. He said, "Our group has been instrumental in putting pressure on the Government to take Light Rail seriously. That is why we are taking our message to all three political party conferences."