The half-a- billion pound project to extend Nottingham’s tram service to the south and south west of the city is progressing well.
The Nottingham Express Transit Phase Two extension to Chilwell via the QMC and Beeston and Clifton via Wilford is the region’s biggest construction project and builds on the success of the existing line from Hucknall and Phoenix Park into the city centre, which is used by around 10 million passengers a year.
Worth £570 million, the UK Department for Transport announced in 2011 that it would be providing £371 million in funding for the construction of the two new lines. The remaining funds for the project are being provided by Nottingham City Council through funds obtained from a Workplace Parking Levy.
Nottingham City Council awarded the NET Phase II contract to Tramlink Nottingham consortium which includes VINCI Investments, a UK subsidiary of VINCI, Alstom, Keolis and Wellglade. Under the agreement Tramlink Nottingham will also take over the operation of one of the existing lines as part of a 23-year concession.
Alstom has a €350m share in the consortium and will be responsible for building the new tram lines, power and signaling as well as supply 22 Citadis trams and their maintenance along with the existing fleet of 15 Adtranz Incentro trams.
Commenting on development, UK Transport Minister Norman Baker said:
“These extensions provide the opportunity to build on that success of Line One and give people in the south of Nottingham quicker, more convenient access to the city centre as well as providing an alternative means of accessing the city centre for people commuting by car.
“They will also help to regenerate sections of the city and support the government’s wider growth agenda by providing better access to local jobs, and our environmental priority of cutting carbon by encouraging modal shift.”
When completed in 2014 the extension will more than double the size of the tram network, with 17.5km of new track and 28 new tram stops, the tram network will consist of 51 tram stops, resulting in almost 30% of the Greater Nottingham population being within 800m of a tram stop.
The two new lines will link directly with Line One at Nottingham Station and are also expected to take a further three million car journeys off Nottingham’s roads.
All the additional stops will help to showcase the region and will help to regenerate the area, promoting business and tourism.
Councillor Jane Urquhart, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transport at Nottingham City Council, said:
“The new artist’s impressions illustrate the exciting benefits the extended tram network will bring. In addition to providing local employment opportunities and supporting the regeneration and transformation of the city centre, Beeston and Clifton and other important employment and residential areas, NET is creating a world-class integrated transport network. This is something in which the city can take great pride.”
Previous to the extension works which got underway in March 2012, an extensive pre-planning stage was undertaken with the heavy involvement of Trent & Peak Archaeology. TPA took the utmost care to ensure Nottingham’s archaeological heritage wouldn’t be compromised by the invasive construction works.
In 2004 TPA undertook a comprehensive desk based assessment, scoping the cultural heritage resource along the corridor of the two new tram routes to Chilwell and Clifton, establishing a sound data-set on which to base decision making and heritage risk management.
TPA was then contracted as the sole supplier of archaeological services during the construction phase of NET 2. Since then the company have worked closely with Vinci to provide appropriate mitigation of any impact to the archaeological resource whilst ensuring the smooth progress of the construction programme.
Since TPA began their major pre-groundwork excavations at the site of the Clifton terminus they have uncovered a previously unknown prehistoric landscape spanning the period between the Neolithic (about 4000BC) up to the Roman conquest in 43AD.
Also, in and around the important Scheduled Monument site at Lenton Priory, an enormous but demolished medieval church was found. As well as excavation and geophysics work TPA is undertaking archaeological watching briefs on dozens of sites across the NET2 lines, working closely with TWA contractors to mitigate archaeology and minimise delays.
Archaeology aside, most recently the new steel Lenton Lane Bridge was installed as part of the development. The bridge, measuring 46 metres (in length) and weighing 640 tonnes, is the second of five impressive structures to be installed by Taylor Woodrow Alstom.
Over a period of four months, the bridge has been constructed in a site compound at the nearby Lenton Lane Industrial Estate. It was driven into position in late February using four 40-wheel vehicles called Self Propelled Modular Transporters (SPMTs). The SPMTs drove the bridge across the railway and lifted it up onto concrete supports either side of the tracks.
Trains will be suspended while this work is carried out at the Lenton South Junction of the railway.
The drive-in installation was carefully planned to coincide with scheduled Network Rail engineering works between Derby and Nottingham to minimise disruption to rail passengers.
Speaking before the installation of the bridge at Lenton Lane, Martin Carroll, NET Phase Two Project Director for Taylor Woodrow Alstom, said:
“With this work, the Structures team will meet another key milestone. Only two weeks ago the team handled the Station Bridge launch and are now using another technically challenging technique to position this bridge. They will work in three shifts over the possession of the railway line, which has been meticulously planned to be carried out in 15 minute increments, to ensure we hand back the track before the rail possession ends.”
Councillor Jane Urquhart, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transport at Nottingham City Council, added:
“Lenton Lane Bridge marks another significant milestone in the project to deliver a world-class tram network for Nottingham.
“Not only is the NET extension providing a fast, reliable and sustainable alternative to the car, but it is also boosting the local economy, creating jobs and employment opportunities and transforming key areas of the city and beyond.”
One company which has been ever present during the NET development is Bridgeway Constructing Limited. The company have carried out extensive installation, maintenance and repair works over the past seven years.
On the previous NET Line One development the firm installed plain lines from Wilkinson Street through to Hucknall tram stop and from Susan Drive up to Phoenix Park tram stop, in addition to carrying out tamping work and stressing work on the lines.
Aside from installing the lines Bridgeway also maintained them with the greasing of all adjustment switches From Wilkinson Street to Hucknall and the greasing of all fish plates from Wilkinson Street to Hucknall. Minor repairs were also carried out.
Their involvement on the NET Phase Two development has been in the provision of track access arrangements and the provision of safety staff on Network Rail infrastructure to allow the construction of both the Lenton Lane Bridge and the Nottingham station bridge. Also Network Rail interface arrangements at Wilkinson Street depot adjacent to the Robin Hood line, to allow the extension to the depot sidings and erection of overhead power lines.
For more information about the development and to track the progress of NET Phase Two, please visit: www.thetram.net/phase-two.
Trent & Peak Archaeology
Trent & Peak Archaeology was founded in 1967 and is one of the oldest established suppliers of commercial archaeological services in the UK.
As the name suggests Trent & Peak Archaeology has a strong regional focus and expertise, but as part of York Archaeological Trust (YAT) the company have the security and resources commensurate with a large organisation, with offices in Glasgow, York, Sheffield and Nottingham.
YAT is a Registered Charity with two principal divisions: Explanation, which owns and runs a number of accredited museums and attractions including the world famous Jorvik Viking Centre (York); and Exploration, which comprises the four regional commercial fieldwork and consultancy offices and a number of specialist laboratories.
Most recently Trent & Peak has been involved with the Nottingham Express Transit Phase Two project. Speaking about the development, Head of Operations, Howard Jones said:
“As a large regional infrastructure scheme which will continue to bring long term benefits to Nottingham and its suburbs, our close involvement with NET Two continues to be a source of great pride to Trent & Peak. It has been a privilege to contribute to such a prestigious development and to work alongside our colleagues at Vinci UK.”
When asked what the company prides itself on, Howard added:
“We pride ourselves on the efficient delivery of a comprehensive range of competitively priced services, tailored to meet the needs of clients of all sizes.
“Our ongoing commitment to digital technologies ensures an ability to provide cost-effective and rapid solutions to challenges arising during the construction process, and our long experience of working alongside contractors on a wide range of archaeological scenarios ensures efficient fieldwork processes.
“Trent & Peak offers a flexible quality driven service with an impeccable safety record, drawing upon a wealth of commercial experience allowing a rapid and effective response to any challenges. Our work is underpinned by a commitment to staff training, and cutting edge digital technologies enabling innovative methods and solutions, backed by a nationwide organisation with specialist in-house support.”