Trams are expected to carry passengers to a new terminus in Edgbaston for the first time in June.
Local leaders welcomed the news that testing and commissioning of the new tramway is expected to begin in May leading to passenger services getting underway to Brindleyplace, Five Ways and Edgbaston Village shortly after.
Testing and commissioning is an important phase which involves running out of service trams at low speeds along the newly installed track, allowing engineers to complete a series of tests in a working environment.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, celebrated the news and said: “Although there have been many milestones in this ambitious project to extend the tram network to the Westside of Birmingham, the upcoming testing and subsequent opening is the moment we have all been waiting for. It is really exciting to think that in just a few months’ time people will be able to jump on a tram in Wolverhampton and travel all the way to Edgbaston Village. Of course this extension is just a part of our incredibly ambitious plans to revolutionise public transport across the West Midlands.”
Councillor Brigid Jones, WMCA portfolio holder for Inclusive Communities and Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, added: “This update is an important indicator that the construction work is coming to an end, and that those living, working or visiting the city can now anticipate the extension of fast, clean, reliable and eco-friendly trams throughout more of the city later this spring.”
As well as providing the opportunity for the vital testing of tracks, signals and other infrastructure, the extensive testing programme which will begin in May will also allow people to get used to trams travelling at low speeds along Broad Street and Hagley Road ahead of services opening to the public.
Peter Cushing, Director of the Midland Metro Alliance which is planning, designing and building this extension on behalf of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), said: “It is exciting to share some further details on the remaining milestones on the project. In the Broad Street and Hagley Road areas, specifically, we’re moving to a new stage of the project and over the coming weeks those in the area will witness remaining construction reducing. My team working on this extension have shown great resilience in having to overcome considerable challenges, including delivering the bulk of this extension during the height of the global pandemic. We would also like to thank those who have been impacted by our works for their patience and understanding.”
When the route opens in June, three new tram stops will connect passengers to the area’s famous “golden-mile” as well as hospitality and business venues in Edgbaston.
You can find out more about these Metro works, including regular updates on progress, by visiting www.metroalliance.co.uk.
Lead photo: From left, Peter Cushing, Director of Midland Metro Alliance; Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands; Councillor Brigid Jones, WMCA portfolio holder for Inclusive Communities and Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council with Michael Anderson, West Midlands Metro Projects Director, celebrating the Metro construction entering its final stages.