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Trams running in central Birmingham for the first time in 60 years

Passenger services have started running to the Bull Street stop on Birmingham’s Midland Metro as part of the first step in the £128m city centre tram extension started in 2012.

Services began at the weekend, marking the first time trams have run in this part of the city since they were withdrawn over 60 years ago.

last tram runs through city centre in 53Last tram running through the city centre in 1953. All credit to Birmingham Mail.

Cllr John McNicholas, chair of the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) Transport Delivery Committee, which oversees Centro, said it was a historic day for the region.

“It’s good news for Birmingham but also the wider West Midlands as this extension is expected to create more than 1,300 sustainable new jobs and boost the regional economy by more than £500m a year,” he added.

The extension is the start of a major expansion programme of the region’s tram network as a result of confirmed government investment revealed as part of the West Midland’s devolution deal. Last month, the chancellor committed an earmarked £97m for the Metro Eastside extension, subject to a business case.

McNicholas continued: “We will see £1.2bn invested in public transport over the next 10 years. This will mean important new Metro links in Wolverhampton as well as Edgbaston and to Brierley Hill. Passengers will also be able to get straight to the HS2 rail stations in Birmingham and the NEC/Airport by 2026.”

first electric powered tram in erdington 1907First electric powered tram in Erdington in 1907. All credit to Birmingham Mail.

Once finished, the Metro extension will take trams from Wolverhampton into the city through Bull Street, Corporation Street and Stephenson Street, terminating at the city’s recently refurbished New Street station.

But works on the remainder of the extension were pushed back by Centro to 2016, at which point a completion date will be scheduled. At the time, it owed the scaling back to “unforeseen challenges” and Christmas commotion.

However work has already begun to extend the route from New Street station to Centenary Square, with services expected in 2019.

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

And 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.

tram runs through digbethTrams running through Digbeth. All credit to Birmingham Mail.

For more pictures of the city's old tram system, visit Birmingham Mail's archive.


Terry K   08/12/2015 at 13:00

I can just about remember the old trams running in Birmingham, they used to make a lot of noise, I know these new trams are supposed to be quieter, only time will tell. I am surprised they have not imposed a parking place levy like car hating Nottingham City Council

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