West Midlands Metro have taken delivery of the first of eight new state-of-the-art trams, which are due to arrive this year ahead of the planned expansion of the region’s light rail network.
Shipped from its factory in Zaragoza, Spain, the third generation Urbos tram arrived at the Metro depot in Wednesbury under escort and was then carefully lowered down a specially built ramp onto the track.
Over the next few months, the eight trams - which have been manufactured to order in Spain - are set to arrive with the first five due to be put into service later this year, ahead of the opening of network extensions in Birmingham and Wolverhampton city centres.
A further 13 trams are due to be delivered in 2023 ahead of the opening of the Metro extension between Wednesbury and Brierley Hill, which is currently under construction.
The 21 new tram vehicles were part of an £83.5m deal signed in 2019 by West Midlands Metro.
Increased Metro capacity forms part of the region’s ambitious #WM2041 target to become carbon neutral within the next 20 years.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “These are incredibly exciting times for the Metro in the West Midlands, as we undergo a huge expansion of the network after decades of under investment.
“With the extension to the Westside of Birmingham nearing completion, and diggers in the ground on both the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill and Birmingham Eastside extensions, it is clear we are going to need significantly more trams in service as we attract more and more people onto the Metro.
“Not only are our trams a quick and easy alternative to the car, but they’re also far more environmentally friendly, helping to reduce air pollution and tackle the climate emergency.”
West Midlands Metro is owned by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
Cllr Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council said: “These brand new trams are arriving as we prepare to open our next extensions to Edgbaston Village in Birmingham at one end of the line and the new Wolverhampton railway station at the other.
“Investment in public transport like this is a vital part of our work to reduce the region’s carbon footprint as well as supporting the region’s economic recovery after Covid by better connecting more people to more places for both work and leisure.”
RTM will be hosting our annual TCR Midlands event on February 10, 2022, bringing together rail decision makers across the region. Register to attend now.