The first of the new Alstom built Citadis trams are due to enter passenger service for the first time on Sunday 27th July as new higher frequency service is tested. It is planned that around double the number of trams will run between Hucknall/Phoenix Park and the city centre.
Starting just after 0700 the frequency of services from Hucknall and Phoenix Park will be every 7-8 minutes which combined mean that the section between Highbury Vale and Station Street will enjoy a tram every 3-4 minutes. This frequency is due to continue until 1900 when the usual evening frequency will resume. For now this service is a one day test but it is planned that the higher frequency service will be introduced full time from late August/early September.
Jamie Swift, Marketing Manager at NET, explained: “Sunday’s trial heralds the start of a significant increase in service frequencies which will respond to customer demands for more trams, more often. Obviously any major changes to our timetable need to be thoroughly tested to ensure things run smoothly and we’ll be carrying out further trials over the coming weeks. In simple terms, during the trial trams will be running every three to four minutes during an extended daytime period which will offer our customers a fantastic uplift in services. Essentially, our aim is to make Nottingham’s tram network a ‘turn up and go’ system, one which continues to be extremely reliable where customers can access real time departure information at tram stops before they travel. When the trials are successful, we’ll be launching our full enhanced service timetables sometime during late August or early September. The new additions to our existing fleet of trams have made all this possible and it’s another major milestone in the expansion of the network. The trials offer an opportunity for people to hop on board one of our new trams for the first time so why not come along and try one out on Sunday?”
Michael Anderson, Project Director for NET Phase Two contractor Taylor Woodrow Alstom, added: “We are delighted that the first Citadis trams are now ready to enter into passenger service. As soon as the timetable has been tested, and all systems work together, these trams will enter into regular service. This is the first step of our testing and commissioning of the systems being installed on Lines 2 and 3, thus ensuring that the remaining tests run more smoothly.”
Meanwhile the first of the Citadis’ has been named at a special ceremony held at Station Street tramstop. The tram has been named Julie Poulter, who won the Nurse of the Year Award at a recent ceremony, and Julie was on hand to do the naming honours herself on Friday 18th July. Julie is a children’s orthopaedic nurse specialist at the Queen’s Medical Centre and won the most votes in the special award scheme organised by Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and sponsored by NET. As part of the award her name will be carried on the tram for 12 months.
Nottingham Express Transit are currently developing plans to name all of the 22 Citadis trams and over the coming months members of the local community will be given the opportunity to nominate some of the people they would like recognised. The original 15 Incentro trams all carry names with five named after local unsung heroes, five after historical figures and five after living Nottinghamshire legends.