Sunday, 2 October 2011

Rail Factoids - 8: Light Rail Construction Costs

In a useful and interesting article this week, RAIL Magazine contained a table listing the costs of building various tramway and light rail lines in Britain.  Here are the figures, adjusted for 2010/11 prices:

Project Date Cost/mile
            Tyne & Wear            1980  £19.8m
            Docklands            1987  £20.0m
            DLR to Becton            1994  £77.4m
            Manchester            1992  £11.7m
            Manchester            2000  £41.6m
            Sheffield            1994  £19.9m
            Midland Metro            1999  £14.6m
            T&W to Sunderland            2002  £10.4m
            Nottingham            2004  £23.6m
            Average            £25.4m

There are some interesting details in this list. The two most expensive projects were the DLR extension to Beckton at £77.4 million a mile and the Manchester Phase 2 project of 2000 at £41.6m a mile. These were both only 5 miles long, the shortest of all the projects. Costs tend to rise swiftly for short routes.

In comparison, the Edinburgh project is expected to cost £100million a mile. RAIL Magazine describes some of the background to the fiasco.

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