Nottingham Express Transit Phase 2, that doubles the size of the UK tramway network with two new routes to Chilwell and Clifton on a Y-shaped southern extension from the city’s reconfigured station, opened on 25 August with the first tram leaving the new Toton Lane stop at 06.00.
Cllr Jane Urquhart, Nottingham City Council Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing with responsibility for NET development, said: “This is a really great day for Nottingham. 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.”
A total of 22 new Alstom Citadis low-floor trams, built in Barcelona, will run on the increased 28-station network, adding to the 15 existing Bombardier Incentro trams that have already completed a major ‘refresh’ programme ahead of a more comprehensive ‘half-life’ refurbishment planned for 2018.
Nottingham City Council says the new network brings NET to within 800m of nearly 30% of the Greater Nottingham population and serves 20 of the 30 largest employers in the region. Crucially, it also links the Queen’s Medical Centre teaching hospital and the substantial Clifton campus of Nottingham Trent University. The major new park-and-ride site at Toton Lane also brings the tramway to within a mile of site of the proposed East Midlands’ High Speed 2 station.
Although the opening was originally set for December 2014, a series of delays related to factors including adverse weather slowing construction earlier in the schedule, more complex utility diversion and delayed trackbed replacement, pushed the opening back by eight months.
Steve Lowe, Chief Executive of concessionaire Tramlink Nottingham, said: “Whilst not without its challenges, this has been a hugely significant project for the city. We set out to create a world-class tram network for Nottingham and all consortium partners are proud to have worked together to ensure we achieve that aim.”