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Nottingham tram extension opens after eight-month delay

NET phase 2, the Nottingham tram extension adding two new lines to the city’s light rail network, opened today (25 August) after eight months of delays.

The opening was originally set for December 2014, but a series of delays pushed it back nearly a year – including an unexpected amount of buried services having to be moved, problems with minimising noise and vibration along the route, and delayed trackbed replacement works.

It has proved a financial drain for Vinci, which owns the project’s main contractor Taylor Woodrow, and was blamed as the main factor in a £165m pre-tax loss for its civil engineering division in 2014.

The overrun on the project meant higher than expected staff costs and liquidated damages penalties.

The £570m project to expand the Chilwell and Clifton lines with a 17.5km Y-shaped extension, which began in March 2012, more than doubles the size of the original network.

A total of 22 new Alstom-built Citadis trams will run on the increased 28-station network, estimated to serve around 23 million passengers a year.

Scott Knowles, acting chief executive of East Midlands Chamber, said: “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.”

Cllr Jane Urquhart from Nottingham City Council said: "This is a really great day for Nottingham. It marks the dawn of a new era when NET becomes a true network and, with trams running from every seven minutes, it is all set to provide easier access to key locations right across the city.”

According to the council, the new network comes within 800m of nearly 30% of the Greater Nottingham population and serves 20 of the 30 largest employers in the region.

It has also placed the Queen’s Medical Centre teaching hospital directly on the tram route.

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.”

The light rail extension is also part of a wider investment in the city’s transport infrastructure, including a £60m upgrade of its main railway station.

(Top image c. Jonathan Smith at Alstom)


Stewart Rotherham   25/08/2015 at 12:21

Taywood made the traditional mistake of buying work when times were hard - and now face the cost of that. There but for the grace of God go any of us! Add to that a touching faith in one or two untried "innovative solutions" and you are in troubleland.

Pedr   25/08/2015 at 12:37

Stewart, been there, done that, and sympathise!

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