Two new tram lines to Chilwell and Clifton opened in Nottingham at 6am this morning (Tuesday 25 August), doubling the size of the current network. The expansion will bring benefits to commuters, businesses, students and tourists alike and connect key employment sites to underpin the city’s economic growth.
The £570 million extension of the tram network is a key part of the city’s plans to support economic prosperity and a widespread investment in its transport infrastructure, which also includes the widened A453 and the recent £60 million upgrade of Nottingham Railway Station.
The extended 32km network, which is part-funded by the UK’s only Workplace Parking Levy, now serves 20 of the 30 largest employers in Greater Nottingham as well as key regeneration sites and comes within 800m of nearly 30% of the Greater Nottingham population. This means Nottingham now has one of the best-integrated public transport networks in the country and the only UK hospital directly on a tram route. With its iconic Ningbo Friendship Bridge carrying tram services over the A52, the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) is one of the key locations on the network, meaning patients, staff and visitors will be able to quickly and easily access the site.
The new routes serve key locations such as Beeston town centre and Clifton. They will also support major regeneration to the south of the city centre and the city’s Southern Gateway regeneration area and are already attracting new businesses to the city. The expanded network serves all three Nottingham junctions of the M1 and provides 5,400 park and ride spaces.
NET Line One opened in 2004 and has carried nearly 100 million passengers. The expanded network has an extra 28 tram stops, with 22 new trams added to the original fleet of 15, and has the capacity to serve up to 20 million passengers a year.
The extended network has created new areas of open space, wildlife habitats and cycle routes. Residents can more easily reach parks and sports facilities including Victoria Embankment, Nottingham Tennis Centre and Clifton Leisure Centre.
Nottingham is already one of the least car-dependent cities in the country and has the lowest carbon emissions of all the Core Cities, but the newtram lines are projected to take a further three million car journeys off the city’s roads each year, reducing CO2 emissions by 4,000 tonnes a year.
Councillor Jane Urquhart, with lead responsibility for NET at Nottingham City Council, said: “The extended tram network represents a fantastic investment in our city and we will now start seeing its benefit, not only in terms of affordable, reliable travel, but also in economic growth. The project has already provided jobs for local people and contracts for local businesses and we now expect to see long-term employment growth and a further boost to the local economy because of the tram.
“I would like to thank residents for their patience during the tram construction works and hope they will now be able to take advantage of the new lines. This sustainable transport system is making Nottingham the envy of other cities and we are already attracting interest from companies interested in investing here, which will benefit the entire city.”
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 all our consortium partners 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.”
University of Nottingham Registrar Dr Paul Greatrix commented: “We welcome the completion of Phase Two of the Nottingham tram network. Not only is it a fantastic addition to public transport within the city but, as a University, it will enable us to be better connected to the city centre, making travel to and from our campuses very easy for students, staff and visitors. It also supports our ongoing mission to reduce our carbon footprint, by providing staff and students with an alternative method of transport to cars.”
Scott Knowles, Acting Chief Executive of East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), added: “Business will welcome the completion and opening of NET Phase Two. The first phase of the tram has had a transformative impact on Nottingham and its economy and these new routes will bring similar benefits, opening up access to the city from the Beeston and Chilwell area. Greater access to the tram network should result in reduced car usage, reduced congestion, a cleaner environment and more people on foot using local shops, pubs and restaurants at the start and finish of their daily commute.”
Mark Bielby, Development Director at ng2 Business Park developers Miller Birch, said: “We welcome the tram to ng2. It’s a testament to Nottingham City Council that when other cities have heralded plans for new tram lines that have never come to fruition, Nottingham has now delivered three lines to serve the city. With the two stations located in ng2 Business Park itself, occupiers on the development will have direct access to the network, enabling travel out to the railway station, the university and Queen’s Medical Centre and to the Toton Lane Park and Ride facility just off junction 25 of the M1. This will undoubtedly prove attractive to occupiers and be a critical factor influencing the decision to locate on ng2 and indeed within Nottingham.
“With the tram network, bus services and investment in the railway station, Nottingham now boasts an integrated public transport network that is the envy of many other UK cities. The investment in the transport infrastructure will help to drive future economic growth.”