Management & Operations

Nottingham tram off to fast start

Posted on May 1, 2004 by Brian Baker

New tram services began operating in March along an 8.7-mile corridor in Nottingham, England. In the first month, 500,000 passengers used the system, equating to approximately 57% of the medium-term target of 30,000 a day. The service frequency is six minutes during peak periods. It’s the first wholly new light rail system to open in Britain for four years. The public/private partnership scheme has cost $360 million, of which 90% will be paid through a government grant over 30 years. If the system succeeds, two more lines could begin construction in 2007. These would be partly funded through developer contributions. All-day travel is $3.50. Single-journey fares start at $1.40. The route is on-street for more than 2.5 miles. Nottingham is the largest city in the East Midlands region and has been booming in recent years. The route links the city center with inner areas and suburbs to the northwest. It includes a spur to a park-and-ride site at Junction 26 of the Ml, one of Britain’s busiest motorways. It also has three interchange stations with the national rail network. The system was built on a 42-month turnkey contract by major construction company Carillion and Bombardier. French-owned Transdev and Nottingham City Transport (NCT) have a 27-year operation and maintenance concession. By involving local bus operator NCT, it was possible for the consortium to ensure local routes were modified to integrate with the tram. There are 23 stations, and a 24th will be added if an expansion of the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre goes ahead. The tram enjoys on-street priority. Altogether, five park-and-ride sites with 3,000 spaces have been provided. The target is to remove 2 million car journeys a year. Bombardier supplied 15 low-floor modular trams with a capacity of 200 seated and standing passengers. The vehicles can traverse gradients of 8.5% and curves of 60-foot radius and have a maximum speed capability of 35 mph.

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