In Pictures: Testing underway on Bilston Road

As previously publicised Bilston Road was reopened to traffic from Saturday 2nd December following the completion of the major track relay project between Priestfield and The Royal. Although the road is reopened this doesn’t mean that trams are running back to Wolverhampton St George’s just yet as the next week will see commissioning and driver training along this section, which hasn’t been in use since June. The first major testing along the line started on Sunday 3rd December.

Testing is taking place as an extension of the normal service. Trams from Grand Central are still terminating at Priestfield but instead of reversing and returning to Birmingham they are then continuing out of service along Bilston Road all the way to Wolverhampton St George’s. On the early morning trips in Sunday 3rd December there were also engineers on hand at certain sections of the line, including at signals to check that everything was working as it should have been.

The first day of testing saw trams 19, 27, 31, 36 and 37 in service and thus becoming the first trams to run in daylight. Previously 18 had been used on two separate occasions for the initial test runs in the early hours of the morning.

19 travels along the new track on Bilston Road. The destination still states Priestfield.

Another view of 19 on Bilston Road, this time as it heads back to Priestfield.

27 slowly approaches the signal as it passes the newly installed junction for the Wolverhampton City Centre extension. Engineers are on hand to make sure the signal works as expected.

37 at Wolverhampton St George’s. Although not yet in service again the sight of a tram here is welcome!

35 pulls away from Priestfield and enters the street track section along Bilston Road. (All Photographs by Andy Walters, 3rd December 2017)

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