‘Light rail is a success story in the UK that needs to be replicated in more cities’
“Light rail doesn’t always get the attention and recognition it deserves in this country,” UK Minister of State for Transport Baroness Susan Kramer told her audience at the Light Rail Awards in London on October 1.
“So I’m delighted to be part of these awards, which truly recognise your hard work and achievements over the last 12 months.”
Baroness Kramer argued that “there is a lot to celebrate in light rail” – with passengers and vehicle miles both having reached points higher than at any previous time in the modern era.
Referring to extensions in Birmingham and Nottingham, improvements in Manchester – and the long-awaited opening of the new line in Edinburgh – the UK minister argued: “We want to see that success replicated in more cities.”
However, the Liberal Democrat minister also repeated a Government contention that ways of reducing project costs must be found. “It is vital that we all work together – planners, promoters, authorities, manufacturers – to find the savings and efficiencies needed so light rail can compete with other modes,” Baroness Kramer told the assembled international gathering of around 240 guests.
People from eight different countries gathered in the UK capital for the 2014 Light Rail Awards, which this year had 14 different categories – including three new ones – and more category sponsors and industry support than ever before. Neither was it just the attendance list that had an international element. Alongside a number of awards for organisations working within the UK, this year’s event saw Keolis KDR Gold Coast win recognition for the new Gold Coast Light Rail project in Queensland (Australia) that opened in July; while the USA’s DART Airport Line Partnership was recognised for its engineering achievement in creating a link to the world’s third-biggest airport, Dallas-Fort Worth International in Texas.
The 2014 Light Rail Awards once again took place in the historic surroundings of the Honourable Artillery Company headquarters in central London; next year’s event is to be held on 8 October 2015.