Last Updated : 30/10/05
Gazza's note - we scooped the whole Nottingham system before the recent beer fest and I'm full of praise for the whole package - frequent trams, cheap dayticket (£2.20) and I scored 7 of them! The Alcazar brewery tap is close to Basford station (albeit not as close as the Cask to Shalesmore!) and if you ask the conductor nicely you might even get a "beer by tram" leaflet which lists pubs near tramstops and, importantly, what beers they sell! Quality.
It's Quicker By Tram -
by Steve Westby.
was working in town a couple of weeks ago so suggests to the missus that she should hop on the bus and meet me afterwards for a few drinks and a bite to eat. Then I have a brain wave - the tram starts today let's jump on that and head out to the Fox and Crown in Basford for a Thai meal and a few of their splendid own brewed beverages.
Great idea - or so you might have thought. First of all do they serve food on a Tuesday evening? Now that should be an easy question to ask but it took three different phone calls and several confusing pantomime style messages - "oh yes we do" , "oh no we don't", "oh yes we do" - to ascertain that they do in fact serve food on Tuesday evenings but not on Tuesday lunchtimes.
So it's game on then. Simple plan - meet the missus in the square and leap on a tram, we will be at the Fox and Crown in about 15 minutes tops. Great these new trams aren't they? Wrong!!
Amazingly she is there spot on 4.15 and we walk across and get straight on a tram at the Market square stop and bag two seats. Soon we are hurtling up towards the Goose Fair site (I won't say the official name of the stop as it is offensive to us Notts County fans), when all of a sudden the tram stops. "Points fault" says the driver in an embarrassed manner, having clearly never addressed the travelling public before.
Things then start to take a turn for the worse. First of all I glance out of the window and see our very own Nottingham CAMRA chairman Richard Studeny eerily grinning at me as he walks past - surely a bad omen? And it was.
Then the tram limps into the tram stop proper. We then sit and wait for ages. After a bit the driver embarrassingly announces that we can't go any further because British Rail can't open (or close?) the crossing gates at David Lane so all tram services are suspended. Sod the fact that I am not going quite that far! They tell us we can have our money back and get off if we want - a bit of a surprise as the conductor hasn't bothered to collect any fares down the back end of the tram where we are. Besides what flaming use is it getting off in Hyson Green?!!
The tram driver then climbs in the other end of the tram and starts to take us back to town. As we go down the hill towards the Poly (oops sorry I mean Trent University - I only work there) they announce the problem is solved. As we approach the University stop I see one tram going the other way at the stop and another just behind it. "We will leap off here" I says to anyone who will listen (by this point my good lady is well brassed of with me and definitely not listening), "and hop back on that one going the other way".
Good idea - only the tram driver is on the phone and won't open the doors (presumably can't do two things at once). Eventually the conductor attracts his attention and he opens the door. we run across the road only to find that the tram going the other way has now closed its doors and won't let us on!
Have sympathy at this point for the guy who got off with us who has left his car in the park and ride at Phoenix Park and wants to get to it to go home after a hard days work.
We wait at the tram stop for the next tram. "17 minutes" says the sign. Sure enough, we wait 17 minutes in the cold with my good lady getting more fond of me by the minute. By now it is gone 5 and rush hour. The tram eventually arrives but is full and won't let anyone on. We wait 5 minutes and another tram appears, but it is also full and they again won't let anyone on despite people getting off. After a third full tram my good lady abandons all hope, praising me to the heavens (- not!) and we start to walk into town.
When we get to the Theatre Square stop a tram has just pulled up. However there is a massive queue. But hang on, you don't queue for trams like you do for a bus as there are several doors - it is more like barging on to a train. We walk past the queue and notice that nobody is getting on through the back two doors - so we think " why not?" and leap aboard. The tram then pulls off with half the queue not able to get on as the front two sections are full, whilst the back end is still relatively empty.
As we pass the university stop the bloke with the car at Phoenix park and ride is still there, as none of the trams since have been going there as they are all Hucknall bound.
We eventually get to the Basford stop and walk round the corner to the Fox and Crown. It is 5.50pm. A journey of 2.9 miles has taken 1 hour and 35 minutes It really is quicker by tram folks - I could have flaming walked there in half the time!
As for the poor bloke heading for Phoenix Park, we heard an announcement that the first tram going there was leaving Station Street at 5.54. So the poor so and so will probably reach his car by 6.15 - two hours after he set off (if he can get on the tram that it is, I bet it was full when it got to the University stop!). The announcement said you could get a bus instead if you wanted - only surely they stopped the buses to Phoenix as they have
been replaced by the tram!!
The Thai food at the Fox and Crown was excellent as were the three Alcazar beers I sampled from a choice of ten plus London Pride and Bass . The Alcazar beer included the recently introduced stout "Time Out" and a new stronger version "Extra Time Out". I would highly recommend this as a superb tram excursion - you can even stop off at the excellent "Lion" on Moseley Street on the way as the tram stops almost by the back door.
The journey back to the Square took about 15 minutes. The Fox and Crown serves Thai food 12 to 2.30 Wednesday to Saturday and 6 to 9pm Tuesday to Saturday.