The Anonymous Widower

The Robin Hood Line In Nottingham

This Google Map shows the Southern end of the Robin Hood Line as it connects to Nottingham station.

southrobinhood

Note the triangular junction towards the bottom of the map.

  • The line to the East goes into Nottingham station.
  • The line to the West goes to Beeston and eventually to London. In a few years time, it will go to the East Midland Hub station for HS2.
  • The line to the North is the Robin Hood Line and the Erewash Valley Line.

The \Erewash Valley Line splits to the West, from the Robin Hood Line just off the top of the map to the North of Nottingham University’s Jubilee Campus.

It is worth looking at services that go between these two branches and Nottingham station.

Langley Mill station on the Erewash Valley Line has the following services.

  • One train per hour (tph) between Nottingham and Leeds.
  • A few trains per day between Liverpool and Nottingham.
  • Some trains between Sheffield and London stop.

Passengers though are expected to take the infrequent service to Nottingham for onward trains.

On the 2nd of April, Ilkeston station will open on the Erewash Valley Line between Nottingham and Langley Mill.

Hucknall station on the Robin Hood Line has two hourly services.

Plans also exist for a branch to Ollerton, so this might change the service pattern. But there is no more than a total of four or five trains per hour in both directions.

All of these services go round the North-East chord of the junction and thus connect Nottingham University’s Jubilee Campus and  Nottingham station

But there are no stations along this line, although there used to be one at Radford.

In A Look At New Station Projects, I came across references to stations at Faraday Road and Lenton.

Both locations are on this section of line and it would seem logical that the more Northerly location would be ideal to serve the Jubilee Campus.

If only the local trains stopped, it would have the following services.

  • 1-2 tph to Ilkeston, Langley Mill and Alfreton
  • 2 tph to Hucknall, Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Mansfield
  • 3-4 tph to Nottingham.

Other questions and issues are raised.

  • Would a second station to the South nearer to the triangular junction be worthwhile?
  • Could the Nottingham Express Transit. have an interchange with the trains the Robin Hood Line?
  • Could the Nottingham Express Transit call both campuses of the University of Nottingham?
  • In future could 1-2 tph go to the HS2 station at East Midland Hub?

It does appear that there is scope for improving connectivity in the Western Part of the City Centre.

 

February 7, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

A New Route To The City Ground, Nottingham

Ipswich Town went to play Nottingham Forest at the City Ground today.

Usually, I walk from Nottingham station using Trent Bridge to cross the Trent.

But today, I decided to use the extended tram route to go to the stop at Meadows Embankment, from where I walked along the river to the ground.

I did cross the Trent once on the Wilford Suspension Bridge that carries utilities over the river, but it is a much more pleasant route, that is less crowded and away from the traffic.

This Google Map allows a comparison of the distances.

Walking To The City Ground

Walking To The City Ground

The Wilford Toll Bridge, where the trams cross the Trent, is the westernmost bridge on this map, whilst the Wilford Suspension Bridge is just South of the Nottingham War Memorial.

As an aside the Wilford Toll Bridge, is the only bridge which says it is a toll one, but doesn’t even allow vehicles to cross, let alone charge them for it?

If you are driving to a match at any of the three grounds by Trent Bridge, you can go to the Park and Ride at Clifton South and then get a tram to Meadows Embankment and walk. I think that the Park and Rid could be free if you use the tram.

I walked the obvious route from the tram to the ground, but there may be a shorter route that cuts out the bend in the river or cuts through the houses after crossing the suspension bridge.

Perhaps, Nottingham City Council should signpost the best route!

October 24, 2015 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hucknall On The Nottingham Express Transit

I took these pictures as I rode to Hucknall on the Nottingham Express Transit.

They show how the Robin Hood Line runs alongside the tram and it is just a simple walk-across to exchange between the tram and the train. This Google Map shows the layout.

Hucknall Station

Hucknall Station

Hucknall station appears to be a remarkably simple interchange between tram, train and car. It is also surrounded by bus stops.

Passengers just walk between the trams and the single train platform on the level. So it is a truly step-free interchange!

The tram stop opened in 2004, which probably means that it was designed too early to have used tram-train technology.

But of all the places in the UK, this would probably have been the easiest to have built a tram-train interface, where trams could continue running on an electrified Robin Hood Line.

But that is all in the past and it’s too late now to build the line for tram-trains.

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Queen’s Medical Centre On The Nottingham Express Transit

The Queen’s Medical Centre is Nottingham’s big hospital.

The tram climbs onto a viaduct to pass through the hospital and although the walkways into the hospital aren’t fully completed, it is surely the way to provide transport to a hospital.

The guy manning the station, as surely it is too grand just be a stop, was proud of his charge, saying it is the only hospital with a tram stop in the UK. I think he could be right, although University station in Birmingham serves the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and my three local hospitals are all served by the Overground or Underground.

Having seen this station, there is no doubt in my mind, that to serve a hospital with its large number of people with mobility problems is the best way to do it, if it is possible.

Nottingham’s solution at the Queen’s Medical Centre is definitely world class.

Nottingham certainly passes the Two Elderly Siblings test with a score of at least nine out of ten.

One sibling is in the hospital and the other lives some distance away but can get to the nearest station to the hospital reasonably easy. Can they then get from the nearest station to the hospital using local transport? Even if they are being pushed in a wheelchair.

In Nottingham, you would use a lift at the station to get to the tram and then it’s a simple ride on a step-free low-floor tram to the station. The hospital is actually on the other side of the tram tracks on arrival from Nottingham station, but as it’s a tram, you just walk or be pushed across, to enter the hospital.

September 2, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

NG2 On The Nottingham Express Transit

I took these pictures at the NG2 tram stop.

It’s just a pretty normal tram stop by Nottingham’s standard, but the reason I stopped off here to take pictures, was that it is close to the triangular junction to the west of Nottingham station, where trains for Nottingham turn off the main Midland Main Line to access the station. This Google Map shows the area.

NG2 Nottingham

NG2 Nottingham

The NG2 tram stop is just South of the place where the road crosses the railway at the Western point of the junction, which goes in the direction of Beeston and the South. The line to the East leads to Nottingham station, and that to the North leads to Chesterfield, Sheffield and the North, as well as the Robin Hood Line.

The tram route curves away to the West to go to the Queen’s Medical Centre and Nottingham University.

In some ways it illustrates how Nottingham’s railways and the new trams weave a pattern around the  city, with very large numbers of possible routes.

As tram-trains are now on the menu and tram-trains were first employed in Nottingham’s twin city of Karlsruhe, I doubt that anybody can predict the next line to be developed in Nottingham.

The only certain thing, is that in my two trips to the city recently, is that the people of Nottingham are proud of their trams and are using the system in large numbers.

As I said in Conclusions On Phase 2 Of The Nottingham Express Transit, the system may suffer from London Overground syndrome, of being built without enough capacity and new trams, tram-trains or extensions will soon be in the pipeline.

 

 

 

September 2, 2015 Posted by | Transport | | Leave a comment

Toton Lane On The Nottingham Express Transit

Toton Lane tram stop is the Southern Terminal of Line 1 of the Nottingham Express Transit.

It opened on the 25th August 2015 as part of Phase 2 of the NET. These are pictures. I took on a visit a week later.

The stop and the associated Park-and-Ride are very similar to the similar facility at Clifton South.

September 2, 2015 Posted by | Transport | | Leave a comment

Walking Around Nottingham Station

When I arrived in Nottingham, the weather was still good, despite rain being forecast, so I went for a walk right around the train station to see if there was space for the junctions to connect tram-trains coming in as trains from points East and West to access the tram line that crosses the station in a North South direction with a tram stop above the station. This Google Map shows the area, where I walked.

Around Nottingham Station

Around Nottingham Station

Note that this map was created before the tram line over the station and the multi-coloured multi-story car park were built, but the old tram-stop on Station Street is clearly marked. The foot bridge over the station, which is a public footpath that also allows pedestrians to access the trains is the only bridge across the station.

These are pictures I took as I walked around the station

I started by walking East along Station Street that runs along the North side of the station, then crossed the rail lines on the road bridge before walking back to the station along Queen’s Road.

After a brief pit stop in the station, I crossed South and followed the tram route intending to pick it up at the next stop to go to Toton Lane. But it was a long walk, so I crossed back North across the railway and walked back to the station along the canal, from ewhere I caught the tram South.

Currently Wikipedia lists three possible tram-trains routes from Nottingham to expand the NET. Two are in the East; Gedling and Bingham and one is in the West; Ilkeston.

I think there is plenty of space around the station to accommodate these routes.

I suspect too, that as the routes have been discussed since the mid-2000s, any current or future development has been or is being built, so that it doesn’t compromise any possible tram-train connections.

September 2, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Tram-Trains To East Midlands Airport

I have a Google Alert looking for tram-trains and it found this article on the Nottingham Post entitled Could tram-trains link Nottingham to East Midlands Airport?

It’s a thought!

The article talks about a proposal to create a link between East Midlands Airport and the Midland Main Line, that would allow tram-trains to connect the airport to cities like Nottingham, Derby and Leicester and the proposed HS2 station at Toton.

This is a Google Map of the area between the Airport and the Midland Main Line.

East Midlands Airport, the M1 And The Midland Main Line

East Midlands Airport, the M1 And The Midland Main Line

East Midlands Parkway station is at the top right of the map.

I think that properly designed this idea could have legs.

A few points.

  1. Some doubt the South East will ever get a new runway, so improving connections to East Midlands Airport would surely mean more passengers flew from their local airport, rather than a congested Heathrow.
  2. It would improve links between the major cities and population centres of the East Midlands and they probably need an improved turn-up-and-go four trains per hour service between each.
  3. There are a number of intermediate stations to the various destinations, which probably need better connections.
  4. The tram-line would also cross the M1. So would a pick-up/drop-off tram stop ease travel in the area?
  5. Once the tram-train technology is proven and approved and the Midland Main Line is electrified, I doubt that creating the link would be a difficult planning or engineering project.

I will be very surprised if at some point in the future, some form of light or heavy rail line doesn’t reach East Midlands Airport.

But then I think tram-trains would be best.

August 27, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Conclusions On Phase 2 Of The Nottingham Express Transit

Phase 2 Of The Nottingham Express Transit seems to have opened without a hitch and from what I saw, the reactions of the passengers seemed to be very positive, as they travelled around with smiles on their faces.

These were some of many comments I heard from fellow passengers.

  1. I can get to the hospital easier, by parking at the Park-and-Ride by using the tram.
  2. My grandchildren love the tram.
  3. I’ll use it instead of driving in a lot of the time.
  4. A student didn’t realise the tram went to the University until I told him and he was pleased.

These comments lead me to the conclusion that I doubt, they’ll be scratching around for passengers.

I do have some reservations on the system, which is otherwise well-designed.

Contactless Ticketing With Ban/Credit Cards

One of the many Customer Service Representatives at Nottingham station, told me that she had already been asked by a traveller from London, if contactless ticketing with a band or credit card was allowed.

Hopefully, as their Mango card is a touch-in and out system, they will be able to incorporate this later.

In my view contactless ticketing with a bank or credit card is something that any transport system should allow as it is so visitor-friendly.

Maps And Information

Maps at tram stops do exist, but they are only small and should be bigger, with perhaps showing walking routes to local attractions. For instance, the stop at Meadows Embankment should show visitors how to walk through the gardens and along the river to the major sports grounds.

There is also a need for a display at the Nottingham station tram stop, showing departures and arrivals in the main station below.

London Overground Syndrome

But my biggest conclusion is that now the NET is a real system, rather than a line to just the north of the city, is that it will suffer from London Overground Syndrome.

The London Overground was designed and opened in 2009, with just enough three-car Class 378 trains, with platforms to fit these trains.

These have now been augmented with additional trains in 2011 and progressively lengthened to five carriages, which has necessitated lengthening the platforms.

NET doesn’t have the platform lengthening problem, but I do feel they will have to beg, borrow or steal some extra trams. At least the track and signalling seems to be able to cope with two different tram types, so if say more trams came from a new supplier, there would probably not be a problem. After all, Edinburgh, Sheffield and the Midland Metro are the only tram systems in the UK with one type of tram. Soon Sheffield will have two.

Just before I left, I talked with one of NET’s Customer Service Representatives. Except that he was a Senior Manager checking things out and getting feedback. Good for him!

Tram-Trains

I suggested to him that after what I’d seen in Germany an especially at Nottingham’s twin city of Karlruhe, that the city is crying out for tram-trains.

His demeanour had Watch This Space written all over it!

So do I think that we’ll see tram-trains in Nottingham?

Wikipedia says this in the section on further routes for the system.

A document raised the possibility of tram-train lines from Nottingham to Gedling and/or Bingham, and to Ilkeston.

Obviously tram-trains will have to prove their worth in Sheffield first.

Gedling, Bingham and Ilkeston, all are on or close to railway lines radiating from Nottingham, although Bingham on the line to Grantham, is the only one with a station.

A couple of points about tram-trains and Nottingham.

If tram-trains had been proven and certified for the UK, when the NET was designed and the Robin Hood Line was reopened in 1998, they would have could been used to create a continuous tram-train route between Nottingham to Worksop.

Tram-trains release platform space at central stations, as they go straight through the station and on to the destinations where people really want to go. Nottingham station is very crowded with split platforms and other techniques being used to get the number of trains through the station.

Tram-Trains To The East Of Nottingham

Look at this Google Map of Central Nottingham.

Central Nottingham

Central Nottingham

The main station is indicated by the red arrow and note how the railway lines to the East pass to the North of the racecourse in a green corridor from the city centre.

To the edge of this map, the lines split into two with the northernmost one going to Carlton station in the Borough of Gedling and then on the Nottingham to Lincoln Line to Newark and Lincoln, whilst the southernmost one goes to Bingham station on the Nottingham to Grantham Line to Grantham.

Both lines have a generally hourly service, which given the population density is probably not enough, especially in the more densely populated areas closer to Nottingham.

So running tram-trains from Nottingham to a convenient intermediate station would be a means of upping the frequency closer to Nottingham, if you could find a way of getting the tram-trains onto the tram network to finish their journeys.

Tram-Trains To The West Of Nottingham

Ilkeston is to the west and a new Ilkeston station is being built at the town. It will be the first station out of Nottingham on a line that goes through the western suburbs of the city, which also passes through some sizeable communities.

Tram-Trains On The Robin Hood Line

I said earlier that if tram-trains had been certified for the UK, when the NET was designed and the Robin Hood Line was reopened in 1998, that tram-trains would have most likely been used between Nottingham and Mansfield and Worksop.

Nottinghamshire County Council is looking to extend the Robin Hood Line to Shirebrook, Warsop and Edwinstowe on an old freight route.

If this extension is done properly, I can’t see tram-trains not being involved. Especially, as an extension like this, would probably be cheaper to build if it was built to tram standards rather than heavy rail.

What difference would it make to passengers from say Mansfield or Worksop, if instead of having a direct train service into Nottingham station, they had a tram-train service going direct to Nottingham city centre and the Nottingham station tram stop.

  1. New Class 399 tram-trains would probably be used on the route and these would be faster and offer more capacity than the current trains used.
  2. There are numerous stops on the route and electric trains save a minute or so at each stop because of their better acceleration.
  3. The current frequency is generally two trains per hour to/from Mansfield and one to/from Worksop. Three or four trains per hour should be possible.
  4. Train times from Mansfield to Nottingham station would probably be about the same, even though the tram section from Nottingham station to Bulwell takes twenty four minutes, as opposed to ten.
  5. There would be no reason, why trains still couldn’t use the direct route into Nottingham station.
  6. A present, many passengers going to Nottingham city centre probably now change at Hucknall or Bulwell onto the tram. With tram-tains, they would do the journey without a change.
  7. With perhaps extra steps and escalators between Nottingham station and Nottingham station tram stop, interchange between Robin Hood Line and other services might be easier.

Obviously, whether this project goes ahed, would be determined by the traffic patterns and needs of travellers.

A subsidiary factor would be the amount of freight on the line. Electric tram-trains would not interfere with freight any more than the current diesel units, but if the line was electrified to main line standards, more efficient electric locomotives could be used.

Getting Tram-Trains On The NET At Nottingham Station

I think connecting tram-trains to the northern branches of the NET might be difficult, but as Nottingham is a station on a spacious site, connection to the lines going south might be easier. But what do I know?

I only know Nottingham as a visitor and don’t know the demographics and routes of travellers, but it strikes me that it would be possible to use tram-trains running between the southern branches of the NET and the lines to Newark, Lincoln, Grantham and Ilkeston, creating stops or stations at important centres on the routes.

As the rail routes already exist, outside of the Nottingham station area, there would be little disruptive construction needed, other than creating the stations and stops.

In designing the connection at Nottingham station, remember that trams and tram-trains running as trams are much more manoeuvrable than  trains and can go round very tight corners, so can reach places trains cannot reach.

As Nottingham station has been through a big remodelling in recent years, I would suspect that the work was future-proofed for any tram-train connection. As tram-train proposals for Nottingham were talked about in this report on the Nottingham Post website in 2009, one has to assume that the connection is at least on an engineering fag-packet in Network Rail’s bottom drawer.

Some external factors and projects will complicate or simplify any development of tram-train routes around Nottingham,

When and if, the Midland Main Line is electrified, will have the biggest effect, as it will bring a number of electrified routes into the city. Some of these may be suitable for tram-train operation alongside main line services.

To the east of the city, there is the need to sort out the flat junction at Newark,  where the Nottingham to Lincoln Line crosses the East Coast Main Line. It strikes me that if this line was an electric route from Nottingham to the East Coast Main Line, this might open up other possibilities.

 

 

 

August 27, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Nottingham Station And The New Integrated Tram-Stop

Travel to some stations in the UK, that are also served by trams or light rail and transferring to the local transport is often an obstacle race or a long walk. This is a summary.

  1. Manchester Victoria is now a flat transfer, but at Piccadilly you dive into a less-than-obvious subway.
  2. In Birmingham, the tram doesn’t yet serve New Street and no plans exist for a proper interchange at Moor Street.
  3. In Blackpool it’s a long walk, although there are plans in the pipeline. Sometime!
  4. Edinburgh is a trek upstairs and a walk.
  5. Sheffield is not too bad, as it’s just a walk up from the bridge over the station.
  6. London isn’t good as how many main terminals have easy access to the Docklans Light Railway?

Nottingham used to be a difficult one, but now they’ve opened a new tram stop on top of the main station at right angles to the train lines. These pictures show the new stop.

Access at present is by climbing up steps from either the station lobby or the main line station platforms. But in the next few weeks it appears there will be an escalator from the main station.

To compliment the new tram stop, Nottingham station has also had a makeover.

It is certainly, a new interchange, built to the standards that a city like Nottingham deserves.

A few months ago, I saw a similar right-angles arrangement, at the main station in Krakow, except that te Poles used a tunnel.

From the experience of one day in Nottingham, the interchange appeared to be working well. And it was the first day.

 

 

August 25, 2015 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments