The Anonymous Widower

Phase Two Of The Nottingham Express Transit Opens Today

The Nottingham Express Transit is in my view one of our better tram systems.

As a regular user of tram systems in the UK and Europe and a Londoner, I actually think that the London Tramlink is the best, but that is because of the ticketing, which is based on the London contactless system and I just touch-in and go. Both Nottingham and Croydon systems are low-floor systems.

Nottingham Express Transit (NET) has also proved to be reasonably commercially successful. Wikipedia says this.

The new line proved successful, leading to an increase of public transport use for the Nottingham urban area of 8% in the five years to 2008, together with a less than 1% growth in road traffic, compared to the national average of around 4%. Nottingham has exceeded the most optimistic predictions, carrying 9.7 million people in 2005. This bolsters the case for the construction of new lines.

In my view other than the non-contactless ticketing, NET major problems are that it is not big enough, doesn’t connect properly to the rail station and doesn’t serve the two football and the major cricket grounds at Trent Bridge, which are all clustered together a twenty-minute walk south of the rail station.

The size problem is being rectified today with opening of Phase 2 of the system. According to this article on Global Rail News, it is happening today.

I think that this could turn out to be a significant day in the history of modern tramways in the UK, as if it proves out to be a successful extension to a proven system, it will be a wonderful advert for trams and light-rail in general.

It is just a pity, that the tram system still doesn’t serve the three sports grounds. Nottingham County Cricket Club, does at least say this about using trams to get to the ground on this page of its web site.

The nearest tram stop, Station Street, is a 20 minute walk from the ground, and anyone travelling from outside the city can take advantage of NET’s free park and ride facilities.?As an added incentive to take the tram, NET will be running a £2 return ticket for all match and season ticket holders.

Nottingham Forest give no information on how to use the tram, although Notts County would seem to run a similar scheme to the cricket.

This Google Map shows the layout of the station, the River Trent and the three sports grounds.

Nottingham Station, The River Trent And Sports Grounds

Nottingham Station, The River Trent And Sports Grounds

Note the bridge at the left hand side of the map over the River Trent. This is the Wilford Toll Bridge, which the NET uses to cross the river.

I suspect though that many meetings about transport in Nottingham have concluded that crossing the River Trent is the biggest transport problem in the area.

When I used to drive to Nottingham from Suffolk to either see a client or watch football or racing, getting away from the city to the East was always difficult, as the river always seemed to get in the way.

The simplistic solution to solve the sports ground problem of running a tram route over Trent Bridge or Lady Bay Bridge, which are the two bridges near the grounds would probably be the sort of measure that would be terribly unpopular with motorists.

I have searched for stories about a possible new crossing across the Trent to the East of Nottingham and there is certainly a lot of studies and speculation. This report in the Nottingham Post talks about a fourth road crossing and this one in the same paper talks about a foot and cycle crossing.

My feelings are that this is a classic problem, that should be sorted locally by a local Nottingham-wide Mayor or Transport Commissioner, responsible to a lkocal electorate.

If the extension to the NET are successful and take traffic off the roads, this might give impetus to expand the tram to the east and south-east of the city coupled with a new route to get cars and trucks over the river. This is a Google Map of the East of Nottingham.

East Nottingham

East Nottingham

Note Lady Bay Bridge and the City Ground in the bottom left-hand corner  and the Holme Pierrepoint National Watersports Centre to the right. I bet the Watersports Centre would love a tram from the centre of Nottingham.

Also in this map in the top right hand corner is Carlton station on the Nottingham to Lincoln rail line. After what I’ve seen in Germany, this line would be one, they’d not hesitate to use for tram-trains. Little modification except for electrification would be needed outside of the city. At Nottingham station, the tram-trains would become trams and use the tram network to get to their final destination. I hope that Nottingham’s great and good visit their twin city of Karlsruhe and see how tram-trains working on the Karlsruhe model combine trams and trains in the city.

One thing that would make connecting tram-trains to the new tram stop at Nottingham station is that Nottingham station is not on a cramped site and a lot of the land surrounding the station is surface-level car parking.

I can envisage tram-trains arriving at Nottingham station from places like Grantham, Mansfield and Newark and then transferring to the NET tracks to go north or south from the station. You could even run tram-trains to Sheffield, so that the two tram systems are connected.

Compared to similar lines around Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds and Cardiff, the frequencies on all these rail branches out of Nottingham are not high enough. Nottingham to Sheffield, as an example is only twice an hour, when four should be a minimum for cities of this size.

I suspect that Nottingham is watching the result of Sheffield’s tram-train trial to Rotherham with interest.

One way or other the Nottingham Express Transit will be key to solving the transport problems in Nottingham.



August 25, 2015 - Posted by | Transport | , , ,

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