New Midland Metro trams to go into service…
The first of a £40 million fleet of new Midland Metro trams will start running between Wolverhampton and Birmingham on Friday September 5, it was announced today (Aug 14).
The four new trams, which are bigger and offer a smoother, quieter ride than the existing models, are part of a 20-strong fleet coming into service over the next few months.
The deployment of the sleek, Urbos 3 trams also marks the start of a bright new chapter for the Metro with construction due for completion next year of an extension through Birmingham city centre linking the Snow Hill and New Street stations.
Preliminary ground works have also started on a second extension from New Street Station to Centenary Square while the Government earmarked more than £90 million last month towards two further routes along Broad Street to Edgbaston, just west of Five Ways, and to the planned high speed rail station in the city’s Eastside district.
The business case for the Wolverhampton Interchange project, which includes a Metro extension to the city’s bus and rail stations, was also submitted earlier this month.
Cllr Roger Lawrence, chairman of the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority, said: “The Midland Metro has a key role to play in providing the transport connections we need to help our region grow and prosper.
“That’s why the introduction of these new trams and the forthcoming extensions are such good news for the economy as well as for passengers who can now look forward to a more frequent and comfortable service.”
Each new tram, built by Spanish manufacturer CAF, is a third bigger than the existing 16-strong fleet of Ansaldo Trasporti models, carrying 210 passengers compared to 156.
As the number of new trams being deployed increases it will also be possible for public transport co-ordinator Centro to step up the frequency of the Metro to every six minutes throughout the day.
This will boost overall capacity by 40 per cent, easing the overcrowding that can sometimes occur at peak times due to the Metro’s popularity.
Meanwhile at least one new tram is arriving each month at the Midland Metro depot in Wednesbury from CAF’s factory in Zaragoza. The trams then undergo extensive testing and commissioning before they can be put into service.
As the further Metro extensions are built the tram fleet will need to be expanded further. The current agreement with CAF allows Centro to order up to 25 new trams in total.
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