Nottingham and Derby City Councils have submitted outline plans to the government looking at a major expansion of Nottingham Express Transit which could include the two cities being linked along with East Midlands Airport. The Department for Transport have shortlisted the plan for further development giving Nottingham City Council £50,000 to prepare the main bid.
The extension to the current Nottingham Express Transit would see a link from Toton Lane Park and Ride to the new HS2 station at Toton Sidings (once that project comes to fruition). This seems to be the most likely of the planned new lines to happen as the councils have said that “if funding” can be found a two pronged extension would follow.
Heading south a line would go to Long Eaton and then East Midlands Airport whilst a western line would also be constructed terminating in Derby City Centre running via Breaston and Borrowash. It is thought journey times from Nottingham of 33 minutes to the HS2 station, 36 minutes to Long Eaton, 56 minutes to East Midlands Airport and 61 minutes to Derby.
With the £50,000 given by the government Nottingham City Council will now fully develop the plans bidding for a share of £1.3bn from the Transforming Cities Fund. The bid is said to have the support of the Chamber of Commerce, East Midlands Airport, Nottingham Trent University, Toyota and Rolls Royce.
The bid for funding stated: “To achieve effective connectivity we must continue to develop transport infrastructure and build on high quality public transport services such as Nottingham Express Transit and SkyLink bus network. This means evolving our mass transit system and key bus corridors and capitalising on planned investments. Exploiting mass transit is fundamental to unlocking the full potential of new land use and transport gateway opportunities. We have well-established successful modes that can be extended, such as the Nottingham tram. We could also use tram–train technology in existing rail corridors.”
Whilst not currently part of the bid other extensions could be considered for inclusion. These include a line to a housing development at Clifton pastures and an extension serving Netherfield and Gedling.
A spokeswoman from Nottingham City Council said: “There is a long term aspiration to improve connections to East Midlands Airport, which is being explored regionally through the HS2 Growth Strategy. Our focus at the moment through Transforming Cities is on exploring the feasibility of short extensions such as in Clifton and to the HS2 hub. The results of these studies will determine whether tram network extensions form part of our bid.”