A FINAL go-ahead for the £180m Nottingham Express Transit light rail project was given by Britain’s Transport Minister Lord Macdonald on April 3. He confirmed that government revenue support would be provided as part of the public-private financing package for an initial 14 km line from Nottingham to Hucknall and Phoenix Park (RG 12.99 p815). The line is to be built by the Arrow Light Rail consortium comprising Adtranz, civil engineering group Carillion, Transdev of France and local bus operator Nottingham City Transport. Construction will take around 31/2 years, with the first Derby-built LRVs due to start running in 2003.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott visited the Croydon Tramlink network on April 5 to ride on a pre-service familiarisation run with local school children. DBOM concessionaire Tramtrack Croydon Ltd hoped to open the New Addington line before the end of April, with the Beckenham Junction and Elmers End branches following in May and the Wimbledon route by early June.

A grant of £15m awarded to Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive in the national budget on March 21 paves the way for a £500m expansion of the city’s Metrolink network by 2007. The money will fund land acquisition and utilities diversion on 55route-km serving Rochdale, Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester Airport.

GMPTE will seek tenders at the end of this year for a single DBOM concession covering the new lines and operation of the existing network. This will replace the concession awarded to Serco Metrolink in 1997 under which the 7 km Eccles branch is being built. A preferred bidder should be selected in 2001, and work is expected to begin in 2002. Substantial economies of scale are expected from issuing a single contract, particularly for about 50 new LRVs. Provision is being made for a 7 km branch to the Trafford Centre shopping complex to be included if developer Peel Holdings agrees to fund the work.

  • Another grant of £30m in the budget will enable a start of construction on the extension of the Docklands Light Railway to London City Airport.