As a committed tram supporter, it was with bated breath that I joined the Civic Society outing, organised by Barbara Selwood, to the NET Tram Control Room at Wilkinson Street, on 6th November.
After alighting from a 36 minute tram trip from Beeston and assembling on the platform, the participants sought sanctuary from the rain and wind and were given a very warm welcome by Service Delivery Manager, Trevor Stocker. An interesting preamble allowed us to study the performance statistics of the week before – they were very impressive, close to 100% for a number of measures, despite a car being driven on to the tram line by accident on Wednesday morning. We were then ushered into a room lined with banks of screens simultaneously showing many different views of the tram network, including platforms, junctions, car parks and customers pressing help buttons.
There were 32 trams out on the lines during our visit, all quietly observed and controlled by three operators in the control room and our discussions were accompanied by chirpy customer service ladies, brightly responding to customers queries, including a reunion of gold topped walking stick with its owner. It was a very modern environment, computers monitoring the exact position of each tram at any time and a system designed to spot problems and issues immediately, with mechanisms in place to immediately send feedback to drivers and customers.
It’s apparently too early to draw conclusions on what regular travel patterns or passenger numbers might be, but Trevor was positive that the Toton/Beeston route has been more heavily used than Clifton.
I know the construction process was disruptive and horrible but I was pleased to see an operating company proud to serve and committed to excellent service.