Posted 14th December 2011 | No Comments

DfT jumps the gun over Nottingham trams decision

A GOVERNMENT statement which said that the construction of two new Nottingham tram routes was about to start, by confirming a grant worth up to £371 million, was issued 'prematurely' by the Department for Transport.

It was revealed later on 14 December that talks on the settlement were actually still in progress.

Transport minister Norman Baker had been quoted as saying that the DfT would provide funding of up to £371 million towards the total maximum cost of £570 million, to provide one extension to Chilwell and Beeston, and the other to Clifton, both linking with the existing Line One at Nottingham station.

Nottingham City Council, the DfT had claimed, 'can now complete the remaining contractual steps so that construction can begin in January.'

Mr Baker had been further quoted as saying: "I am delighted that we are able to finally approve funding, so that construction of Phase Two of the tram system can begin."

But the announcement was quietly withdrawn again shortly afterwards, although the DfT did not acknowledge its error by publishing a correction.

The error is the latest in a series of railway uncertainties which can be attributed to government departments.

The summary of electrification schemes in the documents accompanying the Chancellor's recent autumn spending statement omitted Preston-Blackpool North, which is nonetheless going ahead, at least according to the DfT.

Meanwhile, the announcement of the extent of TransPennine electrification is also unclear.

The Treasury described the route as 'Manchester-Leeds', although it has now emerged that the scheme may involve electrification between Manchester, Leeds and Colton Junction, south of York.

If so, it would make an important connection with the already electrified East Coast Main Line at that point, and complete a through electrified route between Edinburgh, Newcastle, York, Leeds and Manchester.

A Network Rail spokesman said on 15 December that the company was 'seeking clarification' of the government's intentions.