Long suffering commuters on West Midlands Metro are having to change trams once again to complete their journeys with yet more overhead line problems. The issue has again happened close to Handsworth Booth Street, although it isn’t known whether this is the same problem as last week – which is believed to have only had a temporary repair – or in a new location.
Monday 9th July actually started off quite well for West Midlands Metro as they were able to operate an eight minute frequency for the first time in several days (the tail end of last week has seen trams every 10-12 minutes presumably due to a tram shortage). But around lunchtime problems started again with the overhead leading initially to a full service suspension whilst the problem was investigated.
As has often happened with these regular incidents a service was gradually introduced over time. Firstly trams ran from Wolverhampton to St George’s to West Bromwich Central and Jewellery Quarter to Grand Central (no service in between). Then after Urbos3 23 was used as a test tram through the affected area the infamous split service returned with passengers having to change not just once but twice to travel along the full line.
The service ran from Grand Central to Jewellery Quarter (every 12 minutes), Jewellery Quarter to Handsworth Booth Street (every 20 minutes) and Handsworth Booth Street to Wolverhampton St George’s (every 12 minutes).
At the time of writing its not known how long it will take to repair the damage to allow a full service to resume. This is actually the fourth time within a month – and second time in less than a week – that there has been major disruption as a result of overhead problems and although West Midlands Metro are correct in their assertion that safety is their first priority it is a big concern that the infrastructure keeps failing in such a major and disruptive way. A full review is supposed to be taking of the infrastructure to discover where investment is needed but this really needs to happen in the short-term as otherwise passengers will abandon the system and not return when things are running better.