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Centro pushes Birmingham New Street tram extension works to 2016

Work on Birmingham’s Midland Metro have been scaled back as a result of “unforeseen challenges”, meaning the extension to New Street station, originally set for this year, will be kicked back into next year.

Centro announced yesterday (9 November) that the run up to Christmas has delayed tram works on the extension route, especially to minimise disruption during the festive trading period.

Trams will be running along Corporation Street to New Street station as Centro tests and commissions the 1.2km extension during December – but a date for when the extension to the recently refurbished station will open has not yet been set.

Passenger services will only begin once all infrastructure work and test running has been successfully completed, however long after the original 2015 date that may be.

Centro’s chief executive, Geoff Inskip, said: “We recognise this is a vital time of year for retailers and they need to provide the most attractive shopping environment possible, which is why we have scaled back our works.

“Doing so shows Birmingham is very much open for business and can lay on a truly magical festive atmosphere for everyone coming to the city.

“There has been a tremendous effort from everyone involved in this project, with people coming around the clock in recent weeks.

“However, as with all tram extensions through city centres at the moment, there are always unforeseen challenges and that makes it difficult to give an exact date for when we will run trams to New Street station.”

But passenger services are expected to start to the Bull Street stop on 6 December as the first step in the £128m extension programme, which started in 2012. This will represent the first time trams operate in the city in over 60 years.

And the extension programme, which also includes a £40m fleet of new trams, will be taken from the refurbished station to Centenary Square by 2019.

Outline funding is also already earmarked to extend the route further to Broad Street, past Five Ways and onto Edgbaston by 2021.

The route for an Eastside extension to Digbeth, chosen in March of this year, will also see trams running between the Bull Street/Corporation Street, via Albert Street and onto the forthcoming HS2 station at Curzon Street.

From there, it will travel to New Canal Street and Meriden Street into High Street Deritend, stopping at Digbeth Coach station and the Custard Factory. Depending on government approval to allow Centro to construct and operate the route, the extension line could be open by 2023.


John Gilbert   12/11/2015 at 17:46

Nothing, but nothing, but nothing ever runs to time in this benighted country, so I am totally unsurprised that we are now being bombarded with the usual excuses as to why yet another extension is running behind time. Interesting that these delays always seem to concern developments involving electrification whether 'heavy' rail or light rail. A suitable oxymoron: "British competence."

Altfish   15/11/2015 at 10:04

You are obviously not monitoring the recent Manchester tram extensions. The Airport Line was 12-months early. Fingers crossed the second city crossing will be on time despite finding many more graves under the route than expected on Cross Street.

Colin Redman   17/11/2015 at 17:12

Strange how this work started in 2012, the same year as work on the 30 mile Borders Railway began. So three years plus to build and commission a 1.2km extension? Someone has lot the plot somewhere.

Roy Griffiths   04/01/2016 at 13:25

Why are there always "unforseen challenges". Do they plan these things on the back of a fag packet?

Hugh   17/01/2016 at 22:10

Are we waiting for the clocks to change to "summer time" on this one?

Hugh   26/05/2016 at 01:42

Here we go again-another delay. Not surprised really as those we see working on the project don't seem very motivated to me.

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