Nottingham Express Transit

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This article is about trams from 2004 onwards. For trams 1875–1897, see Nottingham and District Tramways Company Limited. For trams 1897–1936, see Nottingham Corporation Tramways.
Nottingham Express Transit
Locale Nottingham
Transit type Tram[1]
Number of lines 2
Number of stations 51
Annual ridership 8.1 million (2014/15)[2]
Began operation 9 March 2004 (2004-03-09)
Operator(s) Nottingham Trams Ltd.
Number of vehicles 15 Bombardier Incentro AT6/5
22 Alstom Citadis 302
System length 32 km (20 mi)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification Overhead line (750 V DC)
Top speed 50 miles per hour (80 km/h)
System map
Nottingham Express Transit
Robin Hood Line
Mansfield and
Hucknall National Rail
Butler's Hill
Moor Bridge
Bulwell Forest
Bulwell National Rail
Phoenix Park
Cinderhill(single track)
Highbury Vale
Babbington Junction
David Lane
Wilkinson Street
Wilkinson Street Depot
Shipstone Street
Radford Road
Beaconsfield Street
Hyson Green Market
Noel Street
The Forest
High School
Nottingham Trent University
Royal Centre
Old Market Square
Lace Market
Broadmarsh (proposed)
Station Street (closed)
Nottingham National Rail
Grantham and
Lincoln lines
Nottingham Station Phase two
Meadows Way West
Queens Walk
Meadows Embankment
Wilford Toll Bridge (River Trent)
Wilford Village
Wilford Lane
Gregory Street
Compton Acres
River Leen joins River Trent
Ruddington Lane
Queen's Medical Centre
UK road A52.PNG
Silverdale (proposed)
Fairham Brook joins River Trent
University of Nottingham
Southchurch Drive
Clifton Centre
Holy Trinity
Summerwood Lane
Clifton South
University Boulevard
Middle Street
Beeston Town Centre Bus interchange BeestonNational Rail
Chilwell Road
High Road - Central College
Cator Lane
Bramcote Lane
Eskdale Drive
Inham Road
Toton Lane
Midland Main Line London & Derby

Nottingham Express Transit (NET) is a tramway in Nottingham, England. The initial system opened to the public on 9 March 2004 and a second phase, that more than doubled the size of the total system, opened on 25 August 2015.

The tramway is operated and maintained by Nottingham Trams Ltd. on behalf of the Tramlink Nottingham consortium.[3] It was operated by Arrow Light Rail, another consortium[3] from 9 March 2004 until 16 December 2011.[4][5] Arrow Light Rail had originally contracted to operate the system for 30 years; the addition of lines to the system led to retendering.


Inception and construction of initial system[edit]

Nottingham and the surrounding urban area is the UK's seventh largest and third fastest-growing urban area. However traditionally Nottingham's economy was to a large extent based on manufacturing and coal mining, and in the second half of the 20th century the area was affected by the decline in these industries. Additionally a high population density, a road system constrained by crossings of the River Trent, and a concentration of retail and entertainment outlets in the city centre lead to road congestion and high bus usage. In the late 1980s, Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council identified the possibility of using a modern tramway as a means of stimulating urban renewal, as well as tackling road congestion.[6]

In 1998, the Minister of State for Transport, John Reid, confirmed the availability of £167 million funding for a new tram system, to be known as Nottingham Express Transit, to run between Nottingham and Hucknall.[7]

Arrow Light Rail Ltd was the consortium selected to be responsible for the design, funding, building, operation and maintenance of the line, with a 30-year contract from the joint promoters, Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council.[6]Construction was sub-contracted to Carillion. Construction cost a total of £200 million[citation needed], a sum equivalent to £274 million at 2015 prices[8]. As built, the system was 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) long and served 23 tram stops.

Opening of initial system[edit]

Nottingham Express Transit began operation in March 2004, with a line operating north from a terminal at Station Street, just to the north of Nottingham railway station, through the city centre, branching to serve twin termini at Hucknall and Phoenix Park. Once the line was complete, operation was sub-contracted by Arrow Light Rail to the Nottingham Tram Consortium (NTC), an equal partnership between Transdev and Nottingham City Transport.[6]

The new line proved successful, leading to an increase of public transport use for the Nottingham urban area of 8% in the five years to 2008, together with a less than 1% growth in road traffic, compared to the national average of around 4%.[6] Nottingham has exceeded the most optimistic predictions,[citation needed] carrying 9.7 million people in 2005. This bolsters the case for the construction of new lines. In 2006 it was also the only operation in the British Isles with 100% low-floor trams.

Inception and construction of phase two[edit]

Supports for new tram bridge; the bridge awaiting sliding into position on 26 January 2013. Timelapse video of the bridge

In January 2003, even before the first phase had opened, the two councils had decided to start consultation on a second phase to serve the urban areas south and west, with routes to Clifton via Wilford, and to Chilwell via Beeston.[6][9]

Approval for phase two was given on 25 October 2006 with the UK Government agreeing to provide up to £437 million in Private Finance Initiative (PFI) credits. The local councils will also provide up to £141M in PFI credits. The two local councils (Nottinghamshire County and Nottingham City Councils) voted on 22 February 2007 and 3 March 2007 respectively to table an application for a Transport & Works Act Order. The City and County Councils’ application for the order were available to view from 26 April 2007 to 7 June 2007 when it was submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport for consideration. A public inquiry was held in December 2007. The project was given the go-ahead by the government on 30 March 2009.[6][10][11]

Following the local elections in 2009, Nottinghamshire County Council indicated that it was no longer willing to contribute financially to the project, so Nottingham City Council decided to cover the shortfall and be the sole promoter. Nottinghamshire County Council confirmed that it would not obstruct the project.[12] Funding was approved by the government on 31 July 2009.[13][14] Selecting and appointing the contractor was expected to take two years. Building work was expected to begin in 2011, in two phases, with trams running from 2014. The scheme survived the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review ordered by the government, and on 24 March 2011 the government confirmed that funding had been approved.[15][16]

Golden spike ceremony held on 27 November 2014 to mark the completion of trackwork on the Beeston and Chilwell line[17][18]

As part of this process, the concession to operate the existing system was terminated. A new concession put out to tender to design and build phase two, to operate and maintain the existing system in the meantime, and to operate and maintain the extended system once completed. Although Arrow Light Rail bid, they lost out to a new consortium known as Tramlink Nottingham Limited, made up of Meridiam Infrastructure (30 per cent), OFI InfraVia (20 per cent), Alstom Transport (12.5 per cent), Keolis (12.5 per cent), VINCI Investments (12.5 per cent), and Wellglade Limited (12.5 per cent). As with the previous consortium, operation was further sub-contracted to a consortium of Keolis (80%) and Wellglade (20%), with maintenance sub-contracted to Alsthom Transport. As a result of Wellglade's ownership of Trent Barton, who operate bus services in the Nottingham area, the new concession was referred to, and approved by, the Office of Fair Trading. The finalised contract was signed on 15 December 2011.[3][6][19]

Construction of phase two started in 2012. There were construction delays and by the end of 2014 it was at least 6 months behind schedule. There were complaints from residents affected by works and traders whose businesses have been damaged by the late running construction. Track laying was completed on 11 December 2014.[20][21][22]

Opening of phase two[edit]

The first powered test run on a very short section of the line took place by Alstom Citadis tram 222 in the early hours of Friday 22 August 2014, running from Station Street via The Meadows to Wilford, before returning to Station Street. With the completion of track laying, testing of phase two commenced in earnest.[citation needed]

The first section of phase two to open to the public was the new tram station above Nottingham railway station, which replaced the Station Street stop as the southern terminus of the line on 27 July 2015. The remainder of phase two opened at 0600 on 25 August 2015.[23][24][25]

During the planning and construction phases, the initial system (including both branches) was often referred to as line 1, with the line 2 name used for the new line to Clifton and line 3 for the new line to Chilwell. With the publication of the timetables covering through running between the initial system and phase two, this terminology was changed, with line 1 referring to the through service from Hucknall to Chilwell, and line 2 to the service from Phoenix Park to Clifton.[26]

The route from Toton Lane Park and Ride into Nottingham ran the first public services from 06:00 on Tuesday 25 August 2015.[27]


The network consists of two lines that cross the city, running together on a common section for the middle part of their journey, including the city centre section. Line 1 runs between Chilwell and Hucknall, features a total of 33 or 34 tram stops, depending on direction, and has a journey time throughout of 62 minutes. Line 2 runs between Clifton and Phoenix Park, features 27 or 28 tram stops, depending on direction, and has a journey time throughout of 47 minutes. The system has a total of 32 km (20 mi).[26]

Trams on each line run at frequencies that vary between 4 and 8 trams per hour, depending on the day and time of day, combining to provide up to 16 trams per hour on the common section.[26]

Line 1 southern branch[edit]

The southern branch of line 1 commences at Toton Lane tram stop in Chilwell, where there is a large Park & Ride site located 1 mile (1.6 km) from junction 25 of the M1 motorway. It then proceeds via Beeston town centre, the University of Nottingham, Queen's Medical Centre, the ng2 business park and the northern edge of the Meadows residential area, before reaching Nottingham railway station.

The branch is 6.1 mi (9.8 km) long, of which 59% is segregated.[citation needed] There are 15 tram stops on the branch, which are expected to attract approximately 5.1 million passenger journeys a year.[citation needed] The journey between Toton Lane and Nottingham railway station takes 30 minutes.[26]

Line 2 southern branch[edit]

The southern branch of line 2 commences at Clifton South tram stop in Clifton, where there is a second Park & Ride site located on the A453. It then proceeds on street through the heavily built up Clifton Estate before using part of the Great Central Railway formation through the Ruddington Lane area to the village of Wilford. It then crosses the River Trent on the Wilford Toll Bridge, which has been widened to allow pedestrians and cyclists to continue to use it, and runs through the Meadows residential area, before reaching Nottingham railway station.

The branch is 7.6 km (4.7 mi) long, of which 63% is segregated.[citation needed] There are 12 tram stops on the branch, which are expected to attract approximately 3.9 million passenger journeys a year.[citation needed] The journey between Clifton South and Nottingham railway station takes 21 minutes.[26]

Common section[edit]

The two southern branches unite at a junction just before Nottingham railway station, which is situated on the southern edge of the city centre. The tramway crosses above the station platforms on its own dedicated bridge that also carries a tram stop that is directly connected to the station concourse.

From Nottingham station the common section runs north through the city centre, passing the Lace Market, the Old Market Square and Nottingham Trent University to the Forest Recreation Ground. To the north is a section of about 1 km (0.62 mi), where northbound and southbound trams follow different streets, crossing at each end to run on the 'wrong side'. The two tracks rejoin at Wilkinson Street tram stop, where the lines depot is situated. Between the station and Wilkinson Street trams run in the street, but all other traffic is heavily restricted or, in some cases, banned altogether. There are Park & Ride sites at the Forest Recreation Ground and Wilkinson Street.

North of Wilkinson Street, the route joins a former Midland Railway alignment, which it shares with the Robin Hood railway line. The two lines run next to each other, segregated by a fence, through Basford to Highbury Vale tram stop, where the two lines again diverge.

Line 1 northern branch[edit]

Line 1 continues to run alongside the Robin Hood line north of Highbury Vale as far as its terminus. The line initially serves Bulwell railway station where railway interchange is provided. North of this station, the tram line becomes single track as far as its terminus at Hucknall railway station, albeit with passing loops at each of the three intermediate stops. Hucknall station also provides interchange with the Robin Hood line, as well as being a Park & Ride side.

Line 2 northern branch[edit]

Line 2 diverges from line 1 at Highbury Vale. After that stop, the line becomes single track as far as its terminus at Phoenix Park tram stop, following the alignment of a former colliery railway. Cinderhill tram stop is the only intermediate stop on this branch, and the only stop on the system where trams use the same single platform in both directions. Pheonix Park is a Park & Ride site.

Tram fleet[edit]

Main articles: AT6/5 and Alstom Citadis
All NET trams are named, tram 205 carries the name of Lord Byron

The system started with fifteen Incentro AT6/5 trams, similar to those used in Nantes, built by Bombardier Transportation (formerly Adtranz) in Derby. They were named after famous local people. The Flexity Outlook Eurotram had also been considered and rejected as its large single-leaf doors did not comply with British door-alarm regulations.

On 8 March 2013, Nottingham Express Transit announced that all trams would be refurbished and receive a new livery and interior.[28] The first tram to be refurbished was 215. Refurbishment of all trams was completed by September 2014.

A pair of new NET Citadis trams at Wilkinson Street depot in Nottingham

In preparation for the Phase Two extensions to Beeston and Clifton, 22 new Alstom Citadis 302 trams have been ordered. The first Citadis tram (216) arrived at the depot on 10 September 2013. Along with the current Incentro fleet, they ran test operation on the new lines from Summer 2014 and also on the current network.[15] The first Citadis trams (216-221) entered passenger service for the day on 27 July 2014, as part of a trial for the new timetable which was then introduced on 26 August 2014.[29]

The trams are stored and maintained at the Wilkinson Street depot, which was expanded as part of the phase two works.

 Number   Class  Image  Top speed  Quantity  Built 
 km/h   mph 
201–215 Incentro AT6/5 Tram at Station Street terminus in Nottingham - - 133038.jpg 80 50 15 2002–2003
216–237 Citadis 302 Nottingham Citadis by chrisw at 2015-08-02 14.09.26.jpg 70 43[30] 22 2013–2014


Further stops[edit]

There is provision for a stop between Basford and Wilkinson Street close to the site of the British Gas works, and there is a proposal for a stop at the redeveloped Broadmarsh Shopping Centre adjacent to the projected new bus station.[citation needed]

Further routes[edit]

During the development of NET a number of possible routes around the city were considered. There are no detailed plans for further expansion, but during the tendering process for Phase Two, documents contained nine possible routes:[31]

The document raised the possibility of tram-train lines from Nottingham to Gedling and/or Bingham, and to Ilkeston.[32]

Kimberley, Eastwood & Nuthall Tram Action Group (KENTAG) campaigns for an extension from Phoenix Park to Eastwood and Kimberley.[33] In December 2012, Nottingham City Council agreed to seek money to conduct a feasibility study on the route.[34] In a major setback for tram proponents, in December 2014 Broxtowe Borough Council voted to reject a proposal to help fund a feasibility study into a line to Kimberley, due to the problems and delays of Lines 2 and 3.[35] Richard Robinson, Labour Councillor for Kimberley, said the plan was always to bring the proposals back to the table. He said: "The vote in December was a roadblock put in our way, but we will over come it".[36] Councillors have subsequently voted 19 to 13 in favour of Cllr Robinson stepping down pending the outcome of an inquiry after he admitted on Radio Nottingham to encouraging a pro-tram campaigner to flood local media with positive letters, while using aliases to make them appear local.[37]

News that a station for the proposed HS2 line (the East Midlands Hub) is likely to be built on the site of Toton sidings, only a short distance from the planned Chilwell terminus has fuelled speculation that the line could be extended to the new station.[38]


  • On 6 October 2007, a 23-year-old man from Hucknall died after being hit by a tram when he stepped in front of it at Weekday Cross. His death was the first fatality since the trams were re-launched.[39]
  • In September 2008 a 17-year-old boy was struck in the leg.[40] He momentarily stepped out in front of a slowing tram close to the Lace Market stop. After an investigation it was found that the driver was guilty of no wrongdoing.[citation needed] The boy was admitted to the Queen's Medical Centre where he was found to have suffered a break, a sprain and a few heavy burns, but no long-lasting damage.
  • On 27 July 2009 the GMB held a strike in protest at a proposed paycut of 0.6% offered by Nottingham Tram Consortium. A maximum of five trams out of a normal service of 13 ran from 0600 until 1800 on the Hucknall route, with replacement buses running a shuttle from Phoenix Park.[41]
  • On 11 November 2011 a 44-year-old man from Barnsley died following an incident close to Wilkinson Street depot.[42][43]
  • On 28 November 2012, a 13-year-old girl was hit by a tram on the Bayles and Wylies footpath crossing, on the border of Bestwood and Hucknall. She was rushed to hospital but later died from her injuries.The local MP remarked '"I am mindful that this is not the first fatality on Nottingham's tramline and we obviously need to look at what's going wrong and how we can fix it'."[44] This was the second fatal accident at this crossing within five years. It was subsequently closed and replaced by a footbridge.[45]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ LRTA World Systems List
  2. ^ "Light Rail and Tram Statistics: England 2014/15". Department for Transport. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "Anticipated acquisition by Tramlink Nottingham Consortium of NET Phase Two concession" (PDF) (ME/5094/11). Office of Fair Trading. 12 September 2011. Archived from the original (report) on 11 November 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "Changes to tram ticketing come into effect". Nottingham City Council. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  5. ^ Nottingham Express Transit : who's who, Nottingham Express Transit. Retrieved 5 September 2014
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Nottingham Express Transit, United Kingdom". Kable Intelligence Limited. Archived from the original on 5 August 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  7. ^ Walker, Tracy (25 August 2015). "The history of the Nottingham tram". Nottingham Post (Local Worl Limited). Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  8. ^ UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2015), "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.
  9. ^ "Network Update". Nottingham City Council. January 2003. Archived from the original on 5 August 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  10. ^ Nottingham Express Transit (27 April 2007). "The NE(x)T steps for Nottingham Express Transit". Archived from the original on 6 July 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2007. 
  11. ^ Nottingham Express Transit (30 March 2009). "Government backs Nottingham's Tram Extensions". Retrieved 30 March 2009. 
  12. ^ "Tories promise not to impede tram extension". This is Nottingham. 10 July 2009. 
  13. ^
  14. ^[dead link]
  15. ^ a b "Tramlink Nottingham named preferred bidder for NET Phase 2". Railway Gazette International. 6 April 2011. 
  16. ^ "Comprehensive spending review backs light rail". Railway Gazette International. 29 October 2010. 
  17. ^ "Final trackwork to be completed on Beeston tram line". ITV News. Associated Press. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  18. ^ Pritchard, Jon (28 November 2014). "Nottingham tram: Final bolt is tightened in Chilwell High Road". Nottingham Post. Retrieved 28 November 2014. Pictured, from left, are: Paul Harris, programme director for Taylor Woodrow Alstom; Labour councillor Steve Barber; Phil Hewitt, chief executive of Tram Link Nottingham; and Didier Marcillou, executive director of Alstom. 
  19. ^ "Nottingham tram Phase Two contract signed". Railway Gazette International. 15 December 2011. 
  20. ^ "Background to the NET Phase Two Project". Tramlink Nottingham. Archived from the original on 5 August 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  21. ^ "Tram contractors will be paid less for delays but struggling traders will not get more compensation". Nottingham Evening Post. 16 December 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  22. ^ "Last piece of track fixed into position". Nottingham Express Transit. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  23. ^ "New tram stop for station". Nottingham Express Transit. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  24. ^ "History made as new tram routes open". Nottingham Express Transit. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  25. ^ "Nottingham Express Transit Phase 2 opens". Railway Gazette (DVV Media UK Ltd). 25 August 2015. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  26. ^ a b c d e "Extending your Tram Service" (PDF). Nottingham Express Transit. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  27. ^ "Nottingham tram: Cheers as first service leaves Toton Lane". Nottingham Post. 25 August 2015. 
  28. ^ "NET – Nottingham Express Transit]". 8 March 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013. }
  29. ^ "Just turn up and go as new timetable goes live". Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  30. ^ "First look at new trams for Nottingham". Nottingham Evening Post. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
  31. ^ Possible future lines
  32. ^ "Tram bidders told of potential for new destinations". This is Nottingham. 21 October 2009. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  33. ^ "New campaign to extend tram line". Eastwood Advertiser. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  34. ^ "Progress made with tram link". Eastwood Advertiser. 17 December 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  35. ^ "New Kimberley tramline suffers setback". BBC News. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  36. ^ "Plans to extend tram to Kimberley back on the agenda". Nottingham Evening Post. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  37. ^
  38. ^ "Nottingham 'must take advantage' of planned high-speed rail route". This is Nottingham. 8 January 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  39. ^ "First tram death victim is named". BBC News. 8 October 2007. Retrieved 5 April 2009. 
  40. ^ "Teenager hurt in tram incident". Nottingham Evening Post. 2 September 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2013. 
  41. ^ "Tram works carried out planned strike action yesterday after talks failed". Nottingham Evening Post. 27 July 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  42. ^ "Man hit by tram near Wilkinson Street dies". BBC News. 11 November 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  43. ^ "Tram victim was from Yorkshire". Nottingham Evening Post. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2012. man who died after being hit by a tram in New Basford was a 44-year-old from Barnsley. 
  44. ^ "Lindsey Inger killed in Hucknall tram collision". BBC News. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2013. 
  45. ^

External links[edit]