The Nottingham Post opened with a strong celebration of the new services.
News not shared with BBC East Midlands Today and ITV Central News, albeit with huge time given to the opening of the extensions to the network – this despite the social media trend being ‘#tramtastic’ – their focus was on the delay to delivery and the inconvenience during construction.
During their broadcasts, Nottingham city centre was actually jammed, directly because telecoms works just north of the city centre caused a blockage and rain came just as the afternoon rush hour began, but indirectly because such is the convenience of the car, that people choose it over mass transit, and choose to live further away from work – hence, even in summer holidays, the road network is vulnerable to events.
And in over 40 minutes of TV coverage, not one mention of climate change.
Instead a Conservative council leader who exemplified the lack of ambition they have for their communities – whilst plenty of people in Kimberley were featured saying they need better transport to and from Nottingham, the leader wondered if they couldn’t do more with other forms of transport – and with that attitude, they’ll have to. You don’t get infrastructure at £55m a mile without showing determination.
The reason for construction delays was explored and the main problem cited was discoveries of infrastructure under the rails that hadn’t been recorded. Not cited – the inability of infrastructure companies to provide the workers needed to do the work.
The discussion of where next was confused. (East Midlands Airport?) Getting the extension to HS2 agreed as part of the plans for high speed rail is probably the priority. There are cases to explore for extending beyond all the other terminals too, and exploring whether Gedling colliery couldn’t now be connected to the tram network – a greener contribution than another road bridge – and it’s been such a struggle to get a fuller passenger train network established.
The more immediate challenge – persuading commuters to park & glide rather than drive into Nottingham.