In what must surely be the slowest tramway construction project in history it has been announced that crucial overnight testing of Midland Metro to New Street will take place on 23rd April – four months after it has been hoped the line would open to the public. No date for the line to actually open to passengers hasn’t been announced but it would seem that it will not be before May now.
The latest delay is caused by the need to have an overnight possession in the vicinity of New Street railway station when no trains are running and the earliest Network Rail have been able to grant this is 23rd April – and this is with Network Rail speeding up their process to allow for a possession to take place.
These overnight tests will ensure that Metro’s electronic systems don’t interfere with the equipment controlling trains using the railway and vice versa. Once these tests are deemed a success full commissioning and driver training will be able to commence with the line allowing passengers to travel during the “spring” (although admittedly the press release doesn’t state spring of which year!)
The first stage of the Midland Metro Birmingham City Centre extension opened to Bull Street in December but an eight week suspension of construction work to tie in with the busy Christmas shopping period meant the line through to New Street could not open at the same time.