Latest Rail News

19.02.16

Centro to carry out Birmingham tram line extension safety checks

Birmingham’s tram extension has moved a step closer after permission was granted to carry out a series of safety checks.

In less time than the 13-week industry standard, Network Rail has granted a possession giving Centro, the body delivering the new tram network between Birmingham and Wolverhampton, permission to run essential overnight testing of the electrical systems along the new Midland Metro route on 23 April.

The granting of the possession will ensure that the Metro’s electronic systems do not interfere with Network Rail’s or those controlling trains using New Street station.

Phil Hewitt, Centro’s Metro programme director, said: “The only way we can carry out this work is by getting a possession, when no trains are running, from Network Rail and we are grateful to them for speeding up the process and cutting the length of time you usually have to wait.

“This is a crucial piece of work because once done it clears the way for us to carry out the final testing, commissioning of, and staff training for the new extension. Once that process is completed we can start running trams down to New Street station.”

The first trams in the £128m project, which includes a fleet of 21 new trams and a new maintenance depot at Wednesbury, began running in December.

The tram development is also now back on track after delays caused by the run up to Christmas pushed it into 2016.

Earlier this week, it was announced that Metro tram fleet will be retro-fitted with batteries, making them the first trams in the UK capable of catenary-free running. It is expected that the tram system will boost the West Midlands economy by more than £50m a year and create 1,300 new jobs.

Comments

Andrew G   20/02/2016 at 00:31

The trams could be electric & battery powered trams that will be used for the 1st time in Birmingham as the route will be cantery free (non-electrified).

Ian Jenkins, Campaign For Rail.   21/02/2016 at 12:34

Fine, but why does it have to wait another 9 weeks? If this were Manchester they would be running by now

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