Karlsruhe, Nottingham’s German twin city which is world-renowned for its integrated tram network and helped trams become a reality here, has sent its congratulations on the recent expansion of the state-of-the-art NET system.

Last October, the Oberbürgermeister of Karlsruhe, Dr Frank Mentrup, joined the first party to ride a tram onto the award-winning Karlsruhe Friendship Bridge to celebrate the role his city had played in helping create NET, Nottingham’s tram network. When NET was being planned, Karlsruhe already had experience of building and operating a successful system, so provided valuable guidance. Karlsruhe’s tram network is currently being further extended and developed.

Dr Mentrup said: “I am delighted that the new tram lines are now fully operational. It was a pleasure to visit Nottingham last year to formally open the Karlsruhe Friendship Bridge, and I congratulate the City of Nottingham on this great achievement.”

Councillor Jane Urquhart, with lead responsibility for NET at Nottingham City Council, said: “Karlsruhe is recognised internationally for its own integrated tram network, so it is gratifying to receive such kind words from the Oberbürgermeister. The tram network we have created here represents a fantastic investment in our city. It is already helping to attract interest from companies considering investing in Nottingham and businesses are already locating along the new route through Beeston.

“The new lines will support major regeneration to the south of the city centre, the city’s Southern Gateway development around Nottingham Railway Station, the Meadows Neighbourhood Plan, the Clifton regeneration and urban extension and MediPark. And we are already experiencing strong occupier interest in the ng2 Business Park and Nottingham Science Park.”

When the two new lines opened on Tuesday 25 August, they doubled the length of the network to 32km, with the capacity to serve up to 20 million passengers a year. Nottingham now has one of the best-integrated public transport networks in the country and the only UK hospital directly on a tram route.

Simon Johnston, Editor of Tramways & Urban Transit, the world’s leading light rail publication, has reviewed the first fortnight of operation. He said: “All of the comments we’ve heard about the new Nottingham lines have been very positive. Trams across the entire NET system appear busy, and this is encouraging as we are now seeing the first signs of the ‘network effect’. I don’t think anyone can underestimate the importance of this effect, and it is significant that other areas are now putting their hat in the ring for where Line Four will be. Hopefully, the momentum will continue as the city has the confidence to plan further expansion to unlock the potential of other suburban areas and the wider East Midlands region.

“The dramatic nature of the new infrastructure and the quality of the enhanced service create the feeling of a city that’s really on the move. Allied to the city’s bold vision for wider regeneration – driven to a large extent by the expanded tram network and initiatives to encourage people to leave their cars at home – Nottingham is now taking its place in the premier league of European cities, with a light rail system that is the envy of many similarly sized areas.

“It is easy to appreciate the frustration of residents and businesses during the complex construction phase, but I hope that those affected will follow the sentiments of those in other cities that have experienced similar disruption to embrace the tram and the obvious benefits it will bring. There are cities around the world that have seen far greater delays that are now clamouring for expansion of their systems, proving that modern light rail works.”

Steve Lowe, Chief Executive of Tramlink Nottingham, said: “Whilst not without its challenges, it has been a hugely significant project for the city, involving the completion of a number of major new structures. We set out to create a world-class tram network for Nottingham and are proud to have been working together to ensure we achieve that aim. Opening the network is, of course, only the start; we are equally committed to delivering frequent and reliable services day in, day out across the whole of the new network.”