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Trams set to run on Midland Metro extension after safety checks

Birmingham’s Midland Metro tram extension from Birmingham New Street to the city centre is due to run from next week after successfully passing electrical safety checks.

The results of the checks are now being reviewed by Midland Metro operators Centro and Network Rail and, subject to any last-minute safety concerns, mean that driver training will begin and full passenger service on the extension between Snow Hill station and New Street station via Bull Street and Corporation Street will open on 22 May.

The tests were carried out on Sunday morning to ensure that the Metro’s electronic systems do not interfere with Network Rail’s or those controlling trains using New Street station and was followed by a series of test runs by a tram between Bull Street and Stephenson Street, starting off at walking pace then gradually getting faster until it was running at normal operational speed.

Phil Hewitt, Centro’s Midland Metro programme director, said: “This was the last big hurdle to overcome. Now that we have completed these crucial trials we are in the final preparations to start services down to New Street and Grand Central, with all the benefits that will bring to Birmingham city centre and the wider West Midlands economy."

The £128m Midland Metro project started running at the end of last year and is hoped to bring more than £50m a year and 1,300 new jobs to the West Midlands economy.

It features a fleet of 21 Urbos 3 trams, which will be retrofitted to become the first battery-operated trams in the UK.

Other extensions are also planned from New Street Station to Centenary Square, through Wolverhampton city centre to the bus and railway stations, along Broad Street to Edgbaston and through Digbeth to the new HS2 station at Curzon Street.


Andrew Gwilt   26/04/2016 at 22:37

What if the Midland Metro could be extended to Merry Hill Shopping Centre in Brierley Hill near Dudley outskirts of Birmingham City Centre with a new tram line linking off the proposed tram line that will spur off the new tram line that in future the Midland Metro would be extended to Stourbridge Junction to connect with London Midland and Chiltern Trains from Stourbridge Junction with a shuttle train that goes to Stourbridge Town in Stourbridge, in the West Midlands near the county of Worcestershire just outside of Birmingham in the Black Country/Cotswolds borders.

Rodney Coleman   27/04/2016 at 10:16

This is good news. The date of 22nd May is given for the opening to New St Station. Is this 22nd May 2016 or 22nd May 2017? With reference to the planned extensions: When could we expect these extensions to be up and running? Would these extensions be completed on time, and on budget? The answer must surely be an emphatic no. The next few years will be wasted on arguments over how these extensions will be funded / where the money is coming from. Effective project management is essential. Can this be guaranteed for any future extensions, to complete on time and on budget? I doubt it. Regards, Rodney Coleman

Ian   27/04/2016 at 11:38

Why has the erroneous statement about these being the first battery operated trams in Great Britain been repeated? I realise that the railway industry now seems to run on hype rather than reality but Birmingham has had electric trams before.

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