Ambitious plans to extend Nottingham’s tram network have been revealed, showing the possible route the tram could take to link the city with East Midlands Airport and Derby.
Plans have been sent to the Government by Derby and Nottingham city councils, showing the route from Nottingham to Derby, taking in Toton and Long Eaton, as well as a separate arm to East Midlands Airport via Castle Donington.
A provisional application for the start of the extension has been shortlisted for approval, meaning the councils can now submit a full bid to the Government.
Nottingham City Council has also been given £50,000 to prepare the main bid, which is expected to be submitted in the summer.
Under new designs which have been produced as part of the bid, the line to Toton park and ride would be extended to the yet-to-be-built HS2 station at Toton sidings.
After this was completed, and if more funding can be found, the line could then split with one route going south and another continuing west.
The southern line would go through Long Eaton, going under the M1 near Junction 24a before stopping at the new Strategic Rail Freight Interchange, and then heading on to East Midlands Airport.
The western line would go under the M1 at Junction 25, before passing by Breaston and Borrowash and finishing in Derby city centre.
Once drawn up, the main bid will then be submitted for a share of £1.3bn from the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF).
The initial TCF funding bid received support from the Chamber of Commerce, East Midlands Airport, Nottingham Trent University, Toyota and Rolls-Royce.
It said: “To achieve effective connectivity we must continue to develop transport infrastructure and build on high quality public transport services such as Nottingham Express Transit and SkyLink bus network.
“This means evolving our mass transit system and key bus corridors and capitalising on planned investments.
“Exploiting mass transit is fundamental to unlocking the full potential of new land use and transport gateway opportunities. We have well-established successful modes that can be extended, such as the Nottingham tram. We could also use tram–train technology in existing rail corridors.”
A previous feasibility study by East Midlands Councils found the journey time between Nottingham Station and Derby could be 61 minutes.
It also said journey times from Nottingham could be: 33 minutes to the HS2 station; 36 minutes to Long Eaton; and 56 minutes to East Midlands Airport.
Other ideas to improve transport connectivity were also included in the bid, including cycle and bus upgrades.
Shorter extensions, including to the yet-to-be-built 3,000 home development at Clifton pastures, and a second through Netherfield to Gedling are also still being considered, and may be included in the main bid.
Marketing Derby also wrote in support of the bid, saying: “In truth, the Derby-Nottingham Metro area requires a step change in its transport infrastructure if the two cities are to continue to provide their contribution… to the East Midlands.
“The arrival of HS2 at Toton could be the catalyst for this step change, but will need supplementing by schemes that improve connections between, and within, the two cities and their wider hinterland.”
A Nottingham City Council spokeswoman said: “There is a long term aspiration to improve connections to East Midlands Airport, which is being explored regionally through the HS2 Growth Strategy.
“Our focus at the moment through Transforming Cities is on exploring the feasibility of short extensions such as in Clifton and to the HS2 hub. The results of these studies will determine whether tram network extensions form part of our bid.”
A spokeswoman for Derby City Council added: “As a council, we are committed to improving air quality, cutting carbon emissions and
making all sustainable transport in the city more accessible and more attractive to people.
“We very much look forward to continuing to work closely with Nottingham City Council, transport providers and partners to improve connectivity around the region.”