Fantasy tram routes

A web-site promoting 20 possible NET expansion proposals invites ridicule, but we do need to bring forward a new and credible public transport route.
To relieve the congestion on London Road and through West Bridgford, we should do more for public transport generally and seek a new NET line to a park & ride site on the A52 to the east of the conurbation.
tram routes graphic 6d9373_5335cb736ce040378749670cfa5da8da
Had to smile as in November, the Nottingham Post reported on a web-site suggesting up to 20 more tram routes for the Greater Nottingham conurbation.
A fantasy since some of the proposals are poorly suited to trams commercially and longer distance travel belongs to heavy rail.  One part of the network shows the tram travelling north from Nottingham station to rise slightly to join Middle Hill, drop 10 feet to re-use the old Victoria railway station tunnel that has since been filled in by Nottingham Contemporary, and drop a further 20 feet and make a hard right turn to use Cliff Road to go east.

Extending each of the existing four legs of the Nottingham Express Transit network all make some sense and will be explored further as we plan for High Speed 2 running to Toton.

Yet, given the recent vulnerability of London Road to congestion, it is time to say we need action, cos car is clearly too attractive an alternative.  Tax on petrol has not kept pace with inflation, tax exemption for buses has been lost so the opportunity for lower fares has been lost.
Currently, cases for other public money to be invested  on a new public transport route needs to show the potential for commuters to switch from the car to public transport.  The missing opportunity is a park & ride tram route serving the city centre and the A52 to the east of West Bridgford.
The two obvious options are not even shown in the list of 20.  Both require a new bridge across the river –
– one to serve somewhere near to Gamston salt depot to the east of Lady Bay and
– one near the bridge for the railway line serving Bingham and Grantham.
A Trent Bridge route has already been difficult to make a case for, mainly cos West Bridgford doesn’t generate a lot of custom and slows a tram down quite a bit.

For The Meadows, it could be served by routes through –
– one route with stops on Meadows Way north & east (interchange with Green NCT buses and serving new housing on Crocus Street) and just north of the County Ground,
– another route with stops at Bridgeway Centre and Meadow Lane (just south of the County Ground).

Celebrating radical transport policy success

A year on from the start of tram services to The Meadows, celebrated by a local resident, catching the first service from Queens Walk.

And the Workplace Parking Levy – making the expanded transport network possible – is celebrated in a national transport article by Stephen Joseph.

Ken Livingstone enjoys Nottingham’s trams

I want these trams in central London” – Ken Livingstone.

Ken was impressed with Nottingham’s tram system.

Poor Ken: on the short journey to the railway station, he was also told about –
– Robin Hood Travel: Nottingham’s version of London’s Oyster card;
– the Theatre Royal being an example of municipal ownership;
– Bio-technological research in Nottingham – Ken takes a big interest in this cos he thinks gene technology is going to be needed more and more to tackle conditions and diseases, as the effectiveness of drugs starts to wear off in the future;  (Ken had also picked up on latest concerns about Boots, including the recent double-page piece in The Guardian);
– Nottingham’s radical histreh – where the Luddites and Chartists used to live and the first working-class library in the world);
– Workplace Parking Levy and its contribution to the renewed railway station.

Ken was speaking at the University of Nottingham in an event organised by Five Leaves bookshop.

Book launch: “Nottingham’s growing tramway” by Geoffrey Skelsey

A last minute sub for Cllr. Jane Urquhart; and a delight to meet the Light Rail Transit Association, the publishers and the enthusiasts who bring out the vim when extolling the virtues of ‘trains running in unprotected corridor’.
The book, Nottingham’s growing tramway, tells again the story of Nottingham Express Transit, but with more photos, more depth and now with phase 2 (lines 2 and 3).
Launched at Nottingham’s Tourist Information Centre, where the book is available, it’s a great pleasure to look through the pictures, remember the ups (and downs) of the project, and to see some comparison with light rail in other cities.
One of the ups was speaking at LRTA’s 2005 conference in London, which 4 of us in the picture attended.

Tram route to Gedling

Only just caught up with an N Post article from 19th January.
There is so much to consider about finding the money, the justification, the backing and the permission for a route to Gedling for the tram (see my article for a fuller consideration).
But if it is to be a tram route as part of a phase 3, it’s hard for it to follow the railway corridor from Grantham all the way in.

So you have to explore crossing the canal at Cattle Market Road (with a stop perhaps on Meadows Way East), or at Meadow Lane (with stops at Trent Bridge Island (for City Ground, cricket ground and County Hall) and Bridgeway Centre, using Arkwright Walk).
And then you know why the first phase of any project is known as the optimistic phase.
Using Meadow Lane and then Daleside Road invites the notion of using the tram to support the huge plans for new workplaces and housing along the Waterside of the River Trent. But is our governance set up to support something that doesn’t exist yet? The kinda of stupid question you wouldn’t ask yourself in The Netherlands.
But it is legitimate to require lots of park and ride as part of getting modal shift. The Racecourse offers some, and some is envisaged at Gedling Colliery, but is this enough? Would a bridge across the river to reach the A52 be needed and if so, would that be enough?

Tram works snagging and landscaping

151008Tweetb0337h QD at TheRealMikevVJ works question
An expression of frustration in a tweet cos works along the tram routes and nearby remain less the pristine.
The tweet shows a picture of Queens Drive, near “ng2”.
Landscaping works have been a frustration throughout the scheme – the north end of Arkwright Walk and neighbouring Lammas Gardens properties in particular suffering when it seemed all other tram works were done.

IMG_8708a0480h RHW restored refuge
There is a programme of works to be done, both landscaping and snagging, and indeed restoration of facilities that were taken out to allow access for plant, such as the refuge at the south end of Kirkewhite Walk on Robin Hood Way.
This is now being re-instated (see photo).
And progress has been made on the green area between Robin Hood Way and Meadows Embankment tram stop, which used to be a roundabout.
There is no published schedule showing the works to be done, or the timing.
Frustrating for groups who want to start adding to the landscaping plans already agreed by contracts for the tram construction.
For now, suggestions and concerns just need to be fed in to make sure the schedule is full and complete.

Tramtastic Nottingham Post

20150825NPostb0647h front page welcomes the tram
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.
20150825NCTa0158h telecomms works on Mansfield RoadDuring 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.

NET preview of Clifton line for community

“A special ‘preview’ event has seen some of the first members of the public to travel from Clifton to Nottingham city centre by tram.
“Community stalwarts and civic leaders were joined by lucky competition winners on the trip that set off from the new park and ride facility at Clifton South.
“On the way to NET’s Wilkinson Street depot, [seeing Clifton,] Wilford and The Meadows from a new perspective, before joining the existing network at the new Nottingham Station stop.”

IMG_7726WSbb0363h NET Clifton trip Wilkinson Street cllrs MME 11879090_10204525012267811_7033295005046737844_o
The Lord Mayor with Area 8 Councillors, most of whom support the Workplace Parking Levy that made the extension happen.
IMG_7701b0305h NET Clifton trip terminus
The new terminus, aimed at attracting commuters off the A453.
IMG_7705b0297h NET Clifton trip terminus and tram
Members of the local communities waiting for the tram.
IMG_7708b0293h NET Clifton trip marking car park
Works still ongoing on the support to the tram system.
IMG_7709b0491h NET Clifton trip terminus K with party hat
One of Nottingham city’s most enthusiastic supports, with his ‘party hat’ that changes for each occasion.
IMG_0828b0362h BBC emt NET Clifton trip
BBC East Midlands Today reported on the event.
IMG_7719b0430h NET Clifton trip Wilford schools campus cyclists
Flying alongside the east side of the old Great Central Wilford embankment, the tram passes by a whole group of cyclists enjoying the new path.
IMG_7723b0232h NET Clifton trip Queens Walk stop
Pertinent poster at Queens walk stop in The Meadows; the start date won’t be known until a few days in advance, but we still hope for August.
IMG_7724b0295h NET Clifton trip Wilkinson Street stop
Arriving at the stop serving the depot.
IMG_7726b0181h NET Clifton trip depot reception
The Chief Executive of Tramlink thanks all who attended.