High Speed 2 station rejection opens door to return of Derby's tram network, says Allestree engineer David Gibson
AN electronics engineer believes the decision to site a High Speed 2 train station outside Derby has brought his vision of trams returning to the city's streets a step closer.
David Gibson is convinced that the city should reconsider creating an entire tram network, connecting key areas of Derby, which would also link in with the proposed site of a HS2 station at Toton Sidings.
Last month, the Department for Transport announced Toton as its preferred site for the station, despite Derby producing evidence which showed that it would make more economic sense to have it in the city.
Toton is about 10 miles away from Derby, across the border in Nottinghamshire.
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Following the announcement, John Forkin, managing director of Marketing Derby, suggested that short of siting the HS2 station in Derby, a high-speed tram link should be created between the city and Toton.
But Mr Gibson, of Allestree, wants the city to go a step further. As well as creating a link to the HS2 station, he wants to see a tram network created in Derby.
He said: "The chaos presently happening due to road works in the city centre indicates just how near breaking point our road system is. A public transport system with dedicated tracks would offer an alternative.
"The proposed HS2 station at Toton will add to this traffic generation and it is most likely that Nottingham will further extend its tram system the small extra distance from Chilwell. This will put Derby at a disadvantage, unless a similar system is built here."
Mr Gibson, who is regional officer for the Light Rail Transit Association, an organisation that encourages the adoption of tram and light rail systems, has drawn up his own route map for the city.
It would see Mickleover and Mackworth served by a "loop" from Kingsway, serving the Royal Derby Hospital, then carry on into the city centre.
The line would then continue through to Derby station, Pride Park and the Wyvern.
For the south of the city, Mr Gibson wants to see a line from Raynesway to Alvaston, carrying on to Chellaston, and eventually on to the Rolls-Royce site at Sinfin. In the north of the city, a line would go from the Wyvern to Oakwood, with a branch line to Spondon.
Mr Gibson also proposes another line to Allestree. Links to the Toton HS2 station would emanate from Spondon and Raynesway.
Last year, Mr Gibson put his proposals to Derby City Council but said the authority dismissed the idea as too costly.
But Mr Gibson is convinced the project may not be as expensive as the city council fears. He estimates it would cost less than £100 million – around half the initial cost of the Nottingham tram system.
The city council's leader, Paul Bayliss has previously dismissed suggestions for a tram link and has vowed to campaign for the Government to change its decision and site the HS2 station in Derby.
He said: "A tram would be entirely pointless because, firstly, the cost would be absolutely astronomical and the speed the tram goes means that it would take too long to get to Toton to connect with HS2. What we would prefer is for the route to go through Derby, meaning the need to build an extra platform at Derby station to facilitate it."