Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

Indelible thoughts from the East Midlands

Posted in Great Britain, Infrastructure, Metro, Other general stuff about railways by Chairman Pip on 11 October 2011

Ahoy there one and all. As you may be able to tell (given my earlier rant against rail fares) I have returned from my brief sojurn to Nottingham, and have had the odd thought about what I noted over the course of my trip. First and foremost, my utter loathing of Kings Cross as it is now was 100% reinforced. The demolition of the dark, crowded “temporary” concourse that is completely inadequate for one of the busiest railway stations in the country can’t come soon enough. Indeed, I was so happy when I read today that what I assume will be the final plan for the square in front of the station have been submitted. The opening of the new concourse to the west of the station will be joyous. To see Lewis Cubitt’s facade finally revealed when the crass 1970s extension is ripped away will be glorious. Indeed, one day, once the work is complete, I may go to the new Kings Cross Square and do a happy dance of joy – that will be me dancing on the grave of the Southern Extension.

“Plans submitted for London’s newest public square at King’s Cross”

Anyway, back to the East Midlands, and Nottingham in particular. You can imagine that I will do some significant amount of travelling while in the city on the NET system. Well, I say “system”. “Line” is more appropriate as the commissioning of the two extensions won’t be for some years yet. But I was thinking about the extensions, and potentially where else they could be extended to. As the tram comes down towards the city centre, it passes a street called Shakespeare Street, which runs broadly parallel to Parliament Street, a bit further up. The tram itself continues up to the Theatre Royal, then down towards the Old Market Square, bypassing the Victoria Centre, which is one of two major retail centres in the centre of Nottingham (the Victoria Centre is built on the site of Nottingham Victoria station). The thing that sparked off my thought was when I noticed that there is a new free bus route connecting the Victoria Centre with the Broadmarsh. So, my idea was connect the Victoria Centre to the tram by building a loop down Shakespeare Street, along Milton Street (next to the Victoria Centre), then up Parliament Street where it can reconnect with the main line. By my very crude calculations this would be less than a kilometre of new tramline, which could be unidirectional, perhaps with a two way juction back onto the main line, allowing travel either to Nottingham Station Street, or back towards Hucknall. given what I heard about the abolition of cross-town buses, this then could be a way of connecting a major retail area with parts of the city and its environs that may not easily access it.

One last thing – I caught a glimpse of my first S Stock train on the way home while my train was sitting at Farringdon. Actually, there were two – one going towards Aldgate, and the other as an all stations to Uxbridge. It was quite exciting. Well, not that exciting really. It would have been more exciting if I’d been on the platform able to take pictures.

Oh and, should you be interested, my rail journeys were thus:

Thursday 6th October
Piccadilly LineSouth Kensington to Kings Cross St Pancras (1973 Stock)
18:19 (Dep 18:26) – London Kings Cross to Grantham (East Coast InterCity 225 Mallard)
19:45 – Grantham to Nottingham (East Midlands Trains Class 153)
Nottingham Express Transit – Nottingham Station Street to Nottingham Trent University (NET AT6/5)

Monday 10th October
Nottingham Express Transit – Nottingham Trent University to Nottingham Station Street (NET AT6/5)
18:28 – Nottingham to London St Pancras (East Midlands Trains InterCity 125 High Speed Train)
20:24 – London St Pancras to London Bridge (First Capital Connect Class 319)
20:52 – London Bridge to New Cross Gate (Southern Class 377 Electrostar)

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