The final clip on the last piece of track has now been put into place on Phase Two of Nottingham Express Transit. Following quickly after the completion of the Chilwell line work has now reached a conclusion on the Clifton line although finishing works are still required across the extensions before full line testing can be undertaken.
During the construction phase of the lines – which has suffered delays meaning that the planned opening dates of 14th December will not be met – more than 3,800 sections of rail weighing over 21,000 tonnes and containing around 71,000 fastenings has been used. Approximately 14,200m3 of concrete (enough to fill an Olympic swimming pool five and a half times) has been used along with 35,000 tonnes of ballast (that’s the equivalent of over 100 Jumbo Jets).
Phil Hewitt, Chief Executive of Tramlink Nottingham, was delighted to help fix the final clip on the line: “The completion of track-laying is another landmark achievement for the NET Phase Two project and reflects the skill and dedication of the construction teams involved – including many people recruited from Nottingham and surrounding areas. The work to date – including the diversion and upgrading of buried pipes and cables – has been difficult and complex but we can now look forward to seeing trams being tested on the new sections of track. Before they can carry passengers, the lines have to pass extensive safety and performance tests, and this process includes examining all the signalling and communications systems as well as the new tracks and infrastructure.”
The final clip was fixed at the Clifton Park and Ride site and a special ceremony was held. This was attended not only by Mr Hewitt but also by Cllr Jane Urquhart, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transportation at Nottingham City Council and Julian Moorhouse, Alstom Section Supervisor. Ms Urquhart commented: “We have had many big moments in this huge project to more than double the size of Nottingham’s tram network, but this one is very significant. The final clip going into the track on the new line to Clifton means that the installation of the rails is now complete for the entire network. Finishing works remain and we know that Clifton residents and businesses have had to endure significant disruption, but this does mean we can look forward to highway works being completed very soon and tram testing in Clifton early in the New Year.”
With attention now shifting to finishing works across the two lines it shouldn’t be too long before the testing of trams is extended to cover the whole lines. This process will be extensive and passengers will not be carried until such a time as this has been successfully completed.