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Triple success for Midland Metro at Light Rail Awards

Midland Metro celebrated a hat-trick of success at the Light Rail Awards, which celebrates excellence and innovation in the light and urban rail industries. 

During the eighth edition of the event, on 1 October, Midland Metro won awards for ‘Operator of the Year’, ‘Manufacturer of the Year’ and ‘Project of the Year’. 

Operator of the Year was awarded to National Express West Midlands, which runs the Metro on behalf of Centro, the region's public transport co-ordinator. 

Manufacturer of the Year was awarded to CAF, the Spanish-manufacturers of the new Urbos 3 tram fleet, which began running on the Metro this autumn. And ‘Project of the Year under €50m’ was awarded to Centro for the way it introduced the new trams into service on the Metro line. 

Paul Griffiths, Metro programme director for Centro, said: “Everyone is absolutely delighted, to win just one award would have been fantastic but to win three is unbelievable. 

“These really are the Oscars of the light rail world and the fact that we have done so well shows that the industry recognises what superb work is being done on the Midland Metro.” 

The awards were presented at the Honourable Artillery Company headquarters in London by TV newscaster Nicholas Owen and transport minister Baroness Kramer, who also gave the keynote speech. She expressed optimism as the country is undergoing its greatest light rail expansion programme for a decade. 

LRA14 Baroness Kramer

About 250 guests and representatives from eight countries attended the event, which turned into an international affair with winners from both Australia and the US. 

Keolis KDR Gold Coast took the ‘Project of the Year over €50m’ accolade for the new Gold Coast Light Rail project in Queensland that opened in July. 

The Dallas Area Rapid Transit Airport Line partnership celebrated a win for its engineering achievement in creating a link to the world’s third-biggest airport, Dallas-Fort Worth International. This ‘Outstanding Engineering Achievement’ category was shared with the UK’s Nottingham Express Transit (NET), which impressed the judges with a ‘bridge slide’ of a major new structure across the city’s station. 

NET also received the top honour in another area, ‘Best Customer Initiative’, for its use of ‘Ambassadors of Change’ to help with its move to off-tram ticketing. 

Bombardier Transportation was also honoured in the manufacturer category, impressing the judges with its range of new passenger safety and comfort technologies. 

DB Regio Tyne & Wear picked up a brace of top awards – winning in both the ‘Technical Innovation’ and ‘Significant Safety Initiative’ categories – for introducing e-reader-based rule books, and for its safety campaign ‘Use your brain near a train’ that has shown dramatic results in driving safety awareness on the Tyne & Wear Metro over the past 12 months. 

In other areas, consultant Mott MacDonald came out top in the category of ‘Supplier of the Year over €10m’, while electrical component manufacturer Barnbrook Systems won ‘Supplier of the Year under €10m’. 

LRA 2014135

Manchester Metrolink continued its Light Rail Awards success, following an almost clean sweep in 2013, with it being named as the ‘Most Improved System’ against a background of growing patronage and falling complaints. 

Industry body UK Tram was recognised in the ‘Vision of the Year’ slot for its work to encourage technical innovation. In particular, UK Tram’s Low Impact Light Rail competition was praised by the judges for encouraging UK organisations, both large and small, to look to the future. 

The judges gave Special Awards to City of Edinburgh Council chief executive Sue Bruce and to transport convener Lesley Hinds, for their efforts in bringing that city’s tramway to completion, while the ‘Team of the Year’ was judged to be that from Blackpool Transport Services, with a raft of glowing testimonials from passengers and partners alike. 

Next year’s Light Rail Awards event is to be held on 7 October 2015. 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected] 

(Top image: The successful NXWM, CAF and Centro teams with Baroness Kramer at the Light Rail awards. c. M. Howell/LRTAP) 


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