Thursday 22 February 2024
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Major incidents affected NET Trams on-time performance of 93.8% says report

A report published ahead of a Greater Nottingham Light Rapid Transit Advisory Committee meeting next week reveals reasons why there were problems with reliability and punctuality in the period February to May 2023.

The reliability and punctuality of the tram service during this four-month period were 95.4% and 93.8% respectively.

The report states that performance during the period was predominately affected by two significant events:

Overhead Line Incident, Wilford

On Saturday 25th February, shortly after 9.30am, a southbound tram at Lace Market reported to NET Control that a northbound tram appeared to be arcing / sparking from the pantograph.

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On departure from Old Market Square, NET Control observed the pantograph snagging on the overhead line and asked the driver to stop immediately, whilst technicians were dispatched to the tram.

* A pantograph is an apparatus mounted on the roof of an electric train, tram or electric bus to collect power through contact with an overhead line. The term stems from the resemblance of some styles to the mechanical pantographs used for copying handwriting and drawings.

A short while afterwards, a further tram was reported at Nottingham Station to have a similar issue.

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As it was unclear at this stage what was causing the damage, all services were suspended, until the cause could be identified.

By 11am all trams had been checked and an overhead line issue was identified on the Clifton line near to Wilford as shown below:

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It was established that four trams had a damaged pantograph and would need recovering from Old Market Square, Nottingham Station, Compton Acres and Wilford.

The report continues:

With the problem identified, services resumed between Hucknall / Phoenix Park and Royal Centre on the north, and Toton Lane and NG2 on the south.

It was not possible to operate any trams on the Clifton line due to the damaged overhead line and failed trams.

Teams were mobilised to carry out the tram-to-tram recoveries required with additional operations staff being drafted in to support the rescue effort.

It was shortly before 9pm, when two of the failed trams had been rescued and overhead line checks completed, that trams could safely resume services across the Hucknall to Toton Line.

All trams were recovered by approximately 3am on Sunday morning, allowing a normal service to resume on the Sunday.

These issues resulted in a significant disruption over the day for customers and staff trying to facilitate services safely.

Unfortunately, the damaged trams had an impact on tram availability for the remainder of the month and continued to impact into March.

The incident timeline and operational steps were reviewed to identify any improvements or changes that could be made for the future.

This video made by The Wire on the day shows efforts to move two of the trams:

@westbridgfordwirenews Pictures and video show the detail of how Nottingham Express Transit and Alstrom engineers move trams which have failed on the network. Today Saturday 25 February almost the entire tram network in Nottingham was down because of a system-wide fault, a broken overhead cable and a failed tram in Old Market Square. #tram #trams #westbridgford #nottingham #notts #nottinghamnews #uknews #nottinghamshire #fyp #foryoupage #nottinghamtrams #tiktokuk ♬ original sound – West Bridgford Wire News

A second major incident was a water main fracture at Central College Beeston.

On 7th March, tram services were significantly impacted by a fractured water main, caused by construction works adjacent to the tramway at Central College, Chilwell. Due to the vast amount of water being ejected from the damaged water main, this caused extensive flooding of NET infrastructure, fully submerging the tracks in some parts of the network.

Screenshot 2023 07 06 at 16.03.12

As a result of this incident, trams had to initially turn back at Beeston, with Cator Lane substation having to be put into bypass, together with an emergency isolation of the overhead line at the request of the Fire Brigade.

Trams were then forced to terminate at University of Nottingham and use the University Boulevard crossover to return northbound. The Clifton Line was unaffected.

Due to the rapid nature of the flooding, six trams were stranded in the affected section of line.

Two of the trams were able to be recovered with the assistance of the police but the remaining four were left in situ until power to the overhead line could be restored. In addition to cross-ticket acceptance with NCT and EMR, a replacement bus service was put into operation between Toton Lane and University Boulevard.