ENVIROMENTALLY friendly trams could take traffic away from Hereford City Centre within three years by utilising the disused railway line, hope campaigners.

The sight of queueing traffic coming into Hereford from the south could become a thing of the past if an eco-friendly scheme is built, which is hoped could reduce the numbers of people travelling into the city by 40 per cent.

Gareth Calan Davies, chairman of rail and bus for Herefordshire, has helped draw-up the scheme for trams to bring residents living in the South West of Hereford into the city from Redhill via the Great Western Way and Hunderton Bridge.

The tram would stop near Sainsbury’s before continuing to Barrs Court and Hereford County Hospital and return.

In March, Herefordshire Council said it would not consider a Hereford tram system because it was not viable.

But Mr Davies said new kinetic technology has allowed the original idea, which was criticised for being too costly, to be put back on the agenda.

He said: “The trams don’t need overhead cables and can be narrow so will fit on the old railway line. There is so much money being spent on the roads but that’s not doing anything to get people off the roads.

“It’s a lightweight track so you can pick it up and put it down like a model train track.

“The trams are flexible animals like buses and you can put them anywhere. They can go around tight bends and are ran at a relatively low cost.

“It’s a good advertisement for a future form of transport as it doesn’t need diesel or petrol and they would have zero emissions.”

Mr Davies said plans are at the costing stage and if permission is granted for the use of the Great Western Way the first stage could be complete within three years.

Mr Davies is working with Pre-Metro Operations on the scheme which currently runs a tram shuttle service between Stourbridge Junction and Stourbridge Town Centre.

Phase three would see an alternative line take people down the east of the city from Redhill to Rotherwas, with phase four linking Rotherwas to Barrs Court.

Mr Davies said the next stage is to configure the costs. The council said there are no current plans for a tram system on the Great Western Way.