UK: Nottingham City Council announced on March 29 that the Tramlink Nottingham consortium had been chosen as preferred bidder for the Nottingham Express Transit Phase Two concession, which covers construction of two extensions to the light rail network and operation of the network including the existing Line 1.

The government had confirmed the go-ahead for Phase Two on March 24, following a cost saving review by the council. The project is to be funded through the Private Finance Initiative.

Subject to government approval of the final business case the council hopes to sign the 23-year concession 'in late summer'. Tramlink Nottingham will then immediately take over operation and maintenance of the existing line 1, which opened in 2004 and has 15 Bombardier trams. Construction of the 7·6 km Line 2 to Clifton and 9·8 km Line 3 to Chilwell could start by the end of the year for completion in 2014.

Tramlink Nottingham comprises Vinci, Alstom, Keolis, Wellglade and infrastructure investment funds Meridiam and Infravia. Alstom Transport will be responsible for track, electrification, signalling, 22 new Citadis trams and rolling stock maintenance. It will be Keolis' first light rail contract in the UK, partnered by Wellglade which owns local bus company Trent Barton.

NET is currently operated by Transdev and Nottingham City Transport, in which Transdev has an 18% stake.