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New Midland Metro trams go into service in September

Midland Metro is to start running the first of its new 20-strong Urbos 3 tram fleet between Wolverhampton and Birmingham next month.

From 5 September, the four new CAF-built trams, which are bigger and offer a smoother, quieter ride than the existing Ansaldo Trasporti models, will go into service carrying even more passengers – 210 compared to 156 currently.

The deployment of the £40m tram fleet, which will see the other 16 rolling stock members come into service over the next few months, also marks a new chapter for Metro with the construction of an extension through Birmingham city centre linking the Snow Hill and New Street stations due for completion next year.

Preliminary ground works have also started on a second extension from New Street station to Centenary Square while the government has earmarked more than £90m last month towards two further routes along Broad Street to Edgbaston,  just west of Five Ways, and to the planned high speed rail station in the city’s Eastside district.

Cllr Roger Lawrence, chairman of the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority, said: “The Midland Metro has a key role to play in providing the transport connections we need to help our region grow and prosper.

“That’s why the introduction of these new trams and the forthcoming extensions are such good news for the economy as well as for passengers who can now look forward to a more frequent and comfortable service.”

As the number of new trams being deployed increases it will also be possible for public transport co-ordinator Centro to step up the frequency of the Metro to every six minutes throughout the day. This is expected to boost overall capacity by 40%, easing the overcrowding that can sometimes occur at peak times due to the Metro’s popularity.

Meanwhile at least one new tram is arriving each month at the Midland Metro depot in Wednesbury from CAF’s factory in Zaragoza. The trams then undergo extensive testing and commissioning before they can be put into service.

Additionally, as the further Metro extensions are built the tram fleet will need to be expanded further. The current agreement with CAF allows Centro to order up to 25 new trams in total.

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