Thursday, 1 May 2014

How do you to build a tram system single-handed?

I took this photograph on Tuesday 29 April at about 1pm walking into Beeston after a visit I organised for Nottinghamshire Local History Association to Hurt's knitwear factory near the Barton Gallery and opposite what is now the Beeston Annexe of Nottingham Central College.

I have long been of the view that those working on constructing the tram line are like Starlings. They seem to flock and swarm about in patterns as they hurry about doing what seems like nothing in particular. They must be doing something, because the landscape changes and the fact that tram track is slowly, but surely, being laid is evidence of the fact.

If I had had the time, I could have taken a series of photographs to prove my claim, but I just had time for one — eighteen men milling around one short section of would-be tram track. Perhaps it was a training session of some kind, but what struck me most was how many of The Tram workman I saw on Tuesday were clutching mobile phones,

I am a regular visitor to Beeston and the Beeston end of Chilwell High Road. At least once a week, often twice. Since 1996 my wife and I have been visiting Caritas, opposite the police station, and shopping at the Local Not Global Deli regularly, as well as occasional visits to other shops along this section of the new tram line to Toton, which has been under construction for a very long time.

At the end of the day I believe The Tram to be a good thing, although I am sceptical as to what benefits it brings to the communities in Nottingham it passes through. Bulwell and Hyson Green bear witness to the fact neither shopping area appears to have benefited one iota ten years after the first tram carrying passengers trundled by. I have a nasty feeling it will be the same for Beeston. I sincerely hope that I am wrong about this. We shall see at some point in the future.

A little further on, I saw a Tram worker down a deep hole close to Imperial Road. Only his head was above the hole and he was shouting profanities at three men, all in yellow coats, all holding mobiles, staring down at him. What I caught went something like this: 'I'm the one in this f**king hole, so why don't you let me get on with my f***king job, instead of coming here ever f**king minute to check up on me'.

If you read this post and see the Nottingham tram extensions under construction, check how many workers are holding mobile phones. The work does seem to be a good way behind schedule and I will be full of admiration for all involved if the whole system is up and running for the oft-repeated starting date of 14 December 2014.

Given how long it has taken them between Middle Street and Holly Lane so far, it will be next year sometime. Maybe the delay is being caused by managers behaving like children, forever checking up on how construction is progressing — a bit like children on a journey forever asking 'Are we there yet?'

Commonsense says if you want to build a tram line fast, then let the workers use both hands.

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