Nottingham Trams will rank with world's best10 July 2012
THE £570m tram network expansion is without doubt one of the most significant infrastructure projects to have been undertaken in Nottingham. More complex than phase one, which developed the city's current tram system, work is now gathering pace to extend the network by 17 kilometres to Chilwell and Clifton.
It will turn Nottingham Express Transit (NET) from a very successful single route linking Hucknall and Phoenix Park to the city centre into a true network - one that is set to become the backbone of the city's public transport infrastructure, as well as a major boost to the local economy.
The organisation responsible for taking forward the city council's tram vision is the Tramlink Nottingham consortium which, last December, won the contract to build the extension and operate the entire system.
Chief Executive Phil Hewitt said: "Our clear commitment is to develop the network into one which will compare with the best in the world. Our aim is to set exemplar standards both in terms of construction and then ongoing operations over the life of our 22 year concession.
"The project is one of the largest capital infrastructure projects currently being progressed in the country.
"It comes as a result of strong political and project leadership by the city council which has enabled them to deliver Government support and a strong mix of public and private funding to ensure the expansion of NET can be delivered.
"NET is already a success story, carrying between 8 and 10 million passengers a year since it opened in 2004. This figure is set to increase to well in excess of 20 million when the two new lines are complete in 2014.
"This will need a step change in our activities and one which requires the sure-footedness of our operating partners, Keolis, and local bus group Wellglade."
He added: "In Vinci Construction UK and their well-respected civil engineering division, Taylor Woodrow, we have a construction partner which is more than capable of meeting the complex challenge of threading the new lines through quite densely populated areas. Working alongside them is Alstom, an accepted world leader in tram design and light rail infrastructure.
"The project is already creating an economic boost. As a whole, the consortium has so far let over £11 million worth of contracts to local and regional companies and many more will follow as construction work moves forward.
"We're also committed to creating local jobs and local training opportunities.
"This has to be good news at a time when the economic climate remains challenging."