Published: 18th September 2015
Nottingham is probably best known for the exploits of Robin Hood and a certain Sheriff, but it will become better known for its newly extended its tram network which opened at the end of August without any fanfare.
The initial tram network ran from Hucknall and Phoenix Park to Nottingham main line station and with the opening, has doubled the network to a length of 32 kilometres and adding 28 stations to the operation. The system has also taken delivery of 22 new tram vehicles to enable a frequent service to operate acoss the new network. This is now serving Toton Lane and Clifton South with the former possibly linking up with HS2 in years to come.
The first public service on the Nottingham Express Transit (NET) phase 2 left Clifton South at 06.02 on August 25 heading north to the city centre. The pair of new lines meet just before Nottingham station which is an interchange with Midland Main Line, served by Cross-Coutry, East Midlands Trains and Northern main line services.
A massive bridge over the railway and Nottingham station was constructed and called the Karlsruhe Friendship Bridge two years ago. The new track is 17·5 km long more than doubling the initial 14 km route. Huge car parks offering over 2000 park-and-ride spaces have been built at Toton Lane close to Junction 25 of the M1 and and Clifton South by the M1s Junction 24 while a tram and bus interchange has been built in Beeston.
It has taken six years to construct after legal powers were obtained in 2009 with construction undertaken by Alstom and Taylor Woodrow. Alstom provided the trackwork, electrification, signalling and the supply of 22 Citadis trams. This meant the tram depot at Wilkinson Street needed to be doubled in size. The first tram fleet of 15 trams built by Bombardier has been refurbished.
‘This is a really great day for Nottingham’, said Jane Urquhart, the city councillor with lead responsibility for NET. ‘It marks the dawn of a new era when NET becomes a true network and, with trams running from every seven minutes, it is all set to provide easier access to key locations right across the city.’
Trams will run every 7.5 minutes throughout the day with a service every 3.45 minutes in the central section and can carry 200 passengers on each service. Tickets can be bought before travel by cash or card using machines or by purchasing season tickets. The network was partially funded, om essay controversially, by a car park space tax on local employers but will allow access to nearly 1300 businesses and will help create up to 8000 jobs.
NET says that their new network makes it one of the best integrated public transport networks in the UK and will boost the local economy by up to £300million annually.