Trams are now running on the whole Clifton line during daylight hours following the latest extension of testing on the Phase Two extension of Nottingham Express Transit. Previously testing and driver training on this line was only running as far as Silverdale but this extension means that NET are able to increase the amount of driver training being undertaken as preparations continue ahead of a public opening later this year.
Phil Hewitt, Tramlink Nottingham Executive Chairman, had this to say about the latest extension: “Daytime running from one end of the line to the other means we can really start to ramp up the essential driver training programme. All NET’s drivers have to have an intimate knowledge of the new routes and this part of the project will intensify over the coming weeks. We understand that people may now begin to wonder why they can’t get on the trams when they can see them running up and down the lines to Chilwell and Clifton but we will be working closely with our partners to make sure the system is open to the public as soon as possible. There can however be no shortcuts taken in the system tests and training as we have to be sure that when we do open for passengers the network is both safe and reliable. So far the commissioning programme has been going extremely well and we’re looking forward to day time trials being extended to the whole of the Beeston line in the near future.”
At the moment daytime testing is also running as far as University Boulevard on the Chilwell line but as mentioned by Phil Hewitt above it is hoped this can be extended further in the near future. Once testing and driver training is in full swing on both lines of the extension it is anticipated that there will be a period of shadow running (when a full timetable operates albeit without passengers) ahead of an opening. But at this stage no dates have been set for when this may happen or even when the line will be able to welcome its first passengers. Nevertheless the progress which has been made over the past few months is a cause for optimism that we may well not have too long to wait for a ride on tram to Chilwell and Clifton.