In Beeston I boarded a tram. It was quieter than the Metro I use at home, but the journey was slower because there were more stops. I sat nonchalantly looking across the aisle towards my fellow-passengers. A small boy was curled up on the nice tidy floor staring happily at Quintcey. Quintcey looked him in the eye. I gazed round the tram and saw lots of prohibitions displayed on a window. Not only were roller blades and cigarettes denied use, but dogs were banned as well. I had time to make an imaginary tram ride with a tame leopard hauling a unicycle before we rumbled across the railway – just like the old Great Central – then ran down the hill to Parliament Square. I still wonder why trams all over Europe invite dogs to travel, but not those in Nottingham.
It was half past five on a Saturday afternoon and the tram I left was full of passengers. We crossed the line with care and waited on the platform for the Toton tram.
I wondered what Nottingham does to earn a living, and, as we stood, there an answer came. A dozen well dressed Chinese students came giggling onto the platform. Most were carrying bags of fashion clothes from the city’s up market retailers. They trotted their high heeled way onto the Toton tram, and we followed – me and my cocker spaniel. It was getting dark and fireworks glittered in some back gardens. There was not much sign of Hallowe’en, save for a pile of unsold pumpkins stacked outside an optimistic greengrocer’s. The tram sailed quietly through the suburbs, gradually losing travellers, until we arrived at Beeston, just in time for tea.
David, an old University friend with a life-long interest in light rail, visited from Newcastle to ride our new tram line. He didn’t spot a more generous facility offered by NET: passengers can board on their buggies!