Earlier this month Platform reported that work has started on constructing two new tram lines to Clifton and Chilwell, a £570million project designed to make it even easier for people to access the city centre from the suburbs of Nottingham.
However, with Line 3 running to Beeston and passing alongside University of Nottingham’s main campus, we were left wondering whether Trent had drawn the short straw in this project. Concerns were particularly raised as the line to Clifton will follow a route through the centre of the estate and bypass Clifton campus completely.
Steve Tough, the NET Team leader at Nottingham City Council believes that there will actually be benefits for Nottingham Trent students.
He said: “In general it will be better public transport for the whole of the city.
“Students travelling to the University of Nottingham and Queen’s Medical Centre will have a quicker and easier route to take.’
Currently the easiest way between Clifton and University of Nottingham is the L53 which stops at Fabis Drive, and is only every twenty minutes.
Despite the rivalry, there is a variety of reasons why Trent students would end up in Beeston. For example, some sporting events and tournaments are held at the UoN, who also benefit from having a swimming pool.
It will also make areas that 2nd and 3rd-year students live in, such as Wilford, Clifton and parts of West Bridgford more accessible. Clifton central will be only 24 minutes away from Market Square by tram, instead of the 35 minutes currently by bus, making it easier for students living off-campus to get in and out of the city centre. Furthermore, if you’re visiting friends living in Hyson Green, Forest Fields or the Arboretum/city area, you will able to get a single tram from south of the city instead of two buses, making for an easier journey particularly during busy periods.
One of the big worries for students is whether the student tram pass will be reinstated or not as the previous tram/NCT bus pass was revoked on January 31st owing to operator changes.
Steve told Platform: “It will be at the discretion of the operator, a consortium of companies which included Trent Barton, if they decide it will be a commercial success then they may choose to offer a student pass. It is entirely up to them’.
The loss of the tram contract to Trent Barton may mean that NCT will increase their services through Clifton and Wilford. It is almost certain that there will be changes to services by bus operators who serve the route which the tram will take.
Clifton may become better served by buses as a result of the tram.
Steve said: ‘People tend to choose the tram over the bus as they are less crowded, faster and more reliable’ said Steve. ‘Bus routes are likely to diverge to complement the tram rather than compete directly with it’.
This means that Clifton may become better served by buses as a result of the tram. However, the new tramline is not likely to relieve the heavily-used Unilink 4 as the nearest tram stop will be a ten-minute walk from Clifton Campus. Nevertheless with plans for a Park & Ride scheme to be built at the edge of Clifton, traffic using Clifton Lane should be slightly eased and journey times on the Unilink could improve.
One of the biggest benefits of the new tram routes will be felt by students in the City as there are 24 trams an hour running through the city centre at the moment. With two new tram lines there will be a frequency increase of 25%, with 32 trams per hour running between Wilkinson Street and Nottingham Rail Station.
This means students can expect a tram to pass through the Boots library stop at the City campus every two minutes. This is good news for students living north of the city in Basford and Radford, as well as the minority of commuting students who use Nottingham Station regularly.
Nottingham Rail Station will also be undergoing development. In order to extend the existing line to the south of the city, a new bridge will need to be constructed across the existing station platform buildings. This bridge will be assembled on the south side of the station and then slid into place which would cause the station to be closed for several days. However, these elements of the project are up to a year away and have yet to be finalised.
It is clear that there are benefits to NTU students, as the lines will make it easier to travel across the city and between student population centres. Now it is just a matter of waiting the two to three years it will take for the lines to be open for use.
By Alex Romankiw