Centro’s metro programme director has said a decision will be made later this year as to whether or not the authority will exercise an option for additional Urbos 3 trams.
On September 5, the first of 21 new magenta light rail vehicles (LRVs) will begin operating between Wolverhampton and Birmingham Snow Hill station.
During a test run on August 19, Paul Griffiths, metro programme director at Centro, said a decision to procure additional trams would be made by the end of the year, by which time all 21 of the current order are expected to have been delivered.
Centro is able to order four more trams under the original framework contract with CAF, but with passenger numbers expected to double in the coming years, Griffiths said the authority was continuing to assess its rolling stock requirements.
By the time the New Street link opens in 2015, service frequencies will be increased from every eight minutes to every six minutes.
The first new Urbos 3 tram arrived from Zaragoza in September 2013. To date, Midland Metro has taken delivery of 12 vehicles. According to Fred Roberts, metro extension manager National Express, six new trams and two spares will be available from the start of September. By February 2015, the operator hopes to be running a full CAF fleet.
The remaining AnsaldoBreda T69s will be gradually withdrawn from September. One of the original units, which entered service on Line 1 in 1999, has already been decommissioned and given to UK Tram and Future Railway. The rest of the fleet will be taken into long-term storage at Long Marston.