SECRETARY of State for Transport Alistair Darling and the Lord Mayor of Nottingham Brent Charlesworth joined the ceremonies on March 8 to mark the completion of the UK's latest light rail network.

Revenue services on Nottingham Express Transit Line 1 began at 06.00 the following morning. The 14 km line runs from the main station through the city centre to Hucknall in the northwest, with a short branch from Highbury Vale to Phoenix Park serving a park-and-ride interchange. For around 8 km the route parallels Network Rail's Nottingham - Worksop Robin Hood line.

The Arrow Light Rail consortium, which includes Bombardier, Carillion and Transdev, holds a 30·5-year concession to build and operate Line 1 (RG 7.01 p477). Bombardier has supplied 15 Incentro all-low-floor LRVs.

Councillors John Taylor of Nottingham City Council and Terry Bolton of joint promoter Nottinghamshire County Council pointed out that NET was always intended as a network, and that planning for Lines 2 and 3 to Chilwell and Clifton had been underway for the past year. Public consultation was almost complete, and Taylor hoped to submit a Transport & Works Order application in 'late summer or early autumn'. Construction would start in 2006 for opening in 2009. However, Darling refused to be drawn by requests to indicate whether government funding would be available.