Friday, 13 April 2018

The Grand Tour (nine)

N E T is Neat (2)
fbb and chum had a very limited "window" in which to experience on of the most recent lines of the Nottingham tram network. Ideally the traveller would like a seat at the front with a good view along the tracks.

The plan is to ride to Clifton South, nip smartly into the frontmost seats and return on the same tram. Don;t you just love it when a plan comes together!

Way back pre WW2 Clifon barely existed.
Rylands is better known as Beeston Rylands and is on the north bank of the River Trent. On the south bank is Clifton Hall ...
... with its church ...
... and a few bits of the "older" village scattered amongst modern and modernised dwellings.
But the Clifon we all know and love is a huge housing estate.

The Clifton Council Estate is a sprawling conurbation, which was first considered for residential construction in 1952 by Act of Parliament, and at one time the largest council estate in Europe.
Since the 1980s most of the houses have passed from council to private ownership. Clifton (like some of Nottingham's other estates) has benefited in recent years from redevelopment and regeneration work initiated by the city council. 

The Estate was always well served by buses, but the idea of a tram brought quicker and more comfortable travel from sprawl into the city.
Our return journey starts at Clifton South (on the south western edge of the estate) which serves a large Park and Rid accessed from the Gotham Road. (Pronounced "Goat-um" and not "Goth-am" as in Batman!).

Both sides of the terminus were well filled when fbb waited for his driver the change ends.
Clearly it is well used.
There is also a "Cycle Hub" offering secure bike parking for those who wish to avoid the congestion and fumes of the city's roads.
Though Clifton itself the trams use the estate's roads with the usual priority signalling at traffic light controlled junctions. It is impressive to see the vertical bar of white lights appear just as the tram approaches.
fbb was travelling mid afternoon (1530-ish) when traffic was quiet ...
... a ride at morning peak would be a better test of the tram's superiority. Here we met the occasional No 48 bus ...
 ... which, despite the onslaught of he tram, still manages a frequency of every ten minutes or less.
The tram is about ten minutes quicker to the Station. QED!

But the planners have been very clever - unless you want to extend the preserved Great Central Railway into Nottingham.
From Ruddington Lane to the Wilford Bridge, N E T uses the former trackbed of the GCR. It is fast and rural ...
... but the former village of Wilford is just a short footpath away.
The village still has a Village Green and even a bus stop for service L1 ...
... run by Nottingham Community Transport (OD = "on demand" i.e.pre-book).
And here is an L1 locally linking at Wilford.
But something strange has happened to the Main Road from Wilford into Nottingham ...
... which we will explore in a P.S. as part of tomorrow's blog.

Meanwhile here is the view from fbb's seat at the front of his tram.
The "line of track" pictures were all taken from behind the driver's left shoulder through two layers of slightly tinted glass. It is a credit to the cleverness of a modern phone plus a bit of software jiggling back at the blog "office" that the pictures are as reasonable as they appear. But not always ...
... as a bit of switchback track coincided with a minor lurch producing fuzz as he tram sped over Fairham Brook and the local footpath network.

 Next Wilford PS blog (plus) : Saturday 14th April 

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