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Midland Metro’s £40m new fleet begins to arrive

The first of Centro’s new fleet of Midland Metro trams has been officially unveiled, following delivery by CAF. 

The £40m, 20-strong fleet will allow Centro to run ten trams an hour through the city centre, increasing overall capacity by 40% and easing overcrowding. The new vehicles will go into service next year, following testing and driver training. 

The new Urbos 3 tram is a third bigger than the Metro’s existing 16-strong fleet of Ansaldo Trasporti models, carrying around 200 passengers compared to 156. 

Sir Albert said: “The delivery of the first tram is a real milestone because Metro has a key role to play in the on-going development of our transport network so that it can underpin economic growth right across the West Midlands. 

“Work is already underway on the city centre extension, but we are now planning to take the Metro on further to Centenary Square as well as extending it through Wolverhampton city centre to the railway station.” 

Centro chief executive, Geoff Inskip, said: “The new trams and the forthcoming extensions mark the start of an exciting new chapter for the Midland Metro system which together with improvements to our local heavy rail system can provide the transport connections we need to regenerate the West Midlands and secure the maximum economic benefits possible from the forthcoming HS2 high speed rail line.” 

The new trams also required the Metro’s maintenance depot in Potter’s Lane, Wednesbury, to be remodelled and extended. Additional maintenance berths were added, as well as four new stabling sidings and a separate testing and commissioning shed. The £14m project was awarded to Morgan Sindall. 

Jag Paddam, managing director of infrastructure at Morgan Sindall, said: “This complex project has been undertaken with minimal disruption to the day-to-day running of the tram service thanks to a collaborative approach between our project team and the operations staff at the depot.” 

midland lower down story

Centro said: “The arrival of the first tram required a significant logistical operation over land and sea. It was loaded in two separate pieces onto low loader trucks at CAF's factory in Zaragoza before being taken under police escort to the Spanish port of Santander.

From there it was taken by ship to Plymouth where the trucks were met by a British police escort for their onward journey to Wednesbury.” 

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Ricp   18/10/2013 at 23:26

Bearing in mind the Ansaldo trams are barely 20 years old, I wonder if these low floor trams will find another home, either in the UK where we need to introduce a tram system at a lower cost, or more likely find a home overseas in Eastern Europe, where there is a market for our railway cast offs. It is worth noting that in Birmingham, we are selling off relatively modern trams, but in Newcastle, Tyne & Wear Metro are renovating the excellent LRVs made by Metro Cammell in Birmingham, manufactures of some of the most robust high quality railway vehicles in the world. Such a pity that Alstom's management could not keep that reputation up with the somewhat erratic performance of it's post takeover products, both diesel and electric MU products. The 334s are making good up in Scotland with their first mid-life refurbishment, and the 458s settled down after trials and tribulations. Same too as the 175 and 180 diesels. But none compared with the 'working out of the box' efficiency of the 101s and 156s.

Cfr   20/10/2013 at 15:31

I understand that the majority of the existing WM Metro fleet is to be retained by Centro for the proposed extension to Merry Hill.

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