The annual Light Rail Awards have taken place this week in London and the big winner of the night turned out to be Edinburgh Trams which walked away with the prestigious Operator of the Year accolade. Other systems to win awards included Nottingham Express Transit and the Manx Electric Railway.
Edinburgh Trams has now been operating in the Scottish capital for 16 months and has quickly established itself as a valued part of the city’s transport network even leading to discussions about constructing an extension beyond York Place towards Leith, as per the original plans.
Speaking about the award Ian Craig, Chief Executive of Transport for Edinburgh, said: “This is fantastic news for the Edinburgh Trams team who have put in so much work to launch the service and to make it a success. Initiating and running a brand new operation comes with many challenges and Edinburgh Trams has risen to them all. It’s great to be recognised by the industry in this way and, with passenger satisfaction ratings among the best in the UK, we know our customers like what we do too.”
Nottingham Express Transit was also celebrating on the night being named as the UK Project of the Year. This was for the construction of the Phase Two extensions and their integration into the existing network whilst introducing a fleet of new trams. Phil Hewitt, Executive Chairman of Tramlink Nottingham, said: “We’re delighted that this landmark project has been recognised by the wider industry. Although it has been challenging, the hard work and dedication of all involved – including our partners at the City Council, operators, Nottingham Trams Limited and contractors, Taylor Woodrow Alstom – ensured we were able to open a quality service just over a month ago. The reaction from local people has been excellent and the expanded network is already demonstrating significant benefits for Nottingham.”
Meanwhile the rebuilding of Ballure Bridge on the Manx Electric Railway won in the Project of the Year below 50m euros category. Ian Longworth, Director of Public Transport, said: “The bridge was a very significant project for us that we achieved on time and on budget, which took a tremendous team effort. It helps secure the safe operation of the MER for the future. Our team was led by chief engineer Peter Maddocks who will retire in November this year. The bridge will remain tribute to the hard work and expertise that he and his team invested in the project.”
Other award winners included:
Team of the Year – Nottingham Express Transit for the partnership delivering the Phase Two project