The Silent Tram to Toton Lane

The building and opening of the tram lines in Nottingham in the last couple of years still is cause of excitement  – so exciting that we were given the assignment of writing a blog post on an aspect of the tram:


The Silent Tram to Toton Lane

One of the tram lines leads to Toton Lane.

Since the opening of the last tram lines this summer, the tram has become a usual sight in and around Nottingham. A lot of people use this new mean of transport, which naturally leads to the trams being filled by people most of the time. At peak times, when getting a train from the city centre in direction of Toton Lane, getting a seat is quite a stroke of luck.

Nevertheless, there are times, when the tram seems to be one of the loneliest things in town. Sunday morning is one of these times, during which the tram driver makes a lonely journey to Toton Lane.

Starting in Hucknall, driving across the city centre and threading its way through Beeston the Sunday morning-tram shows no lack of free seating. The trip to Toton Lane can be near to relaxing as the only audible noises are the humming of the tram and at times creaking of the carriages. Merely the regular announcements of the next stop prevents the ride from becoming one long daydream. As there is no one wishing to bord or exit the tram, it only stops at the occaisonal red light, so that when the doors finally open, one can be sure to have arrived in Toton Lane.

This stop itself is an eerie place, as it is a Park and Ride space, which is as abandoned as the tram is. Thus, the switching of the tram sign from “Toton Lane” to “Hucknall” becomes a welcome sight, as it announces the journey back to town. The tram driver’s journey away from Toton Lane will not be as solitary, as now, with the commencing morning, life outside of warm houses slowly is starting.


For this short assignment we had to use photos taken with an analogous Canon EOS camera, a 50 mm lens and a roll of 35 mm film that we were given. As I usually use Nikon, becoming acquainted with the Canon was a bit awkward at first, but luckily less of an issue than dreaded. Having used medium format Mamiya cameras in the previous weeks, the use of an additional light meter was not too new, nevertheless the restrictions of this smaller film format were visible.

The aim of this analogues practice, was to think more about the composition of the frames, before taking the actual photo, as instead of having the chance of taking endless shots and deleting the unwanted ones on the computer later on, we only had 36 frames. Also, not knowing immediateley through the display, if the photo had come out as hoped for and instead having to wait until the film was full and developed, let one think more about the camera settings before pressing the shutter button. I enjoyed this, as for me it took the high pace of digital photography away and made photographing a calmer process. Combined with the fun ofdeveloping the film, not knowing until the very final step of this process, whether it had worked out, analogue photography, in my opinion, still has a valuable place in modern photography.

All in all, for me, analogue photography still has this feeling of creating something with light, whilst the digital techniques has a bit less of this “magical” touch.

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