The entire Midland Metro line between Birmingham Snow Hill and Wolverhampton St George’s is to close for just over two weeks as part of the £128 million project to extend and improve the line. During this closure work will primarily focus on modification work at the stops on the line to enable the new CAF built trams to operate when they are introduced next year.
The line will be shut from the end of service on Good Friday 29th March until the start of service on Monday 15th April during which time a limited replacement bus service will operate at a minimum 30 minute interval between 0630 and 1915 Mondays to Saturdays and calling at 12 locations along the route of the Metro. At other times passengers are being advised to use regular bus and rail services.
Speaking about the closure, Paul Griffiths, Centro’s Metro Programme Director, said: “We appreciate that the closure will cause disruption for passengers but it is the only way we can carry out the work. We have chosen the Easter period because many people take the school break off work which means fewer passengers will be affected. Deferring the engineering work until the school summer holidays would jeopardise the build programme for the city centre extension and the deployment schedule for the new trams. We apologise in advance for the inconvenience but the benefits that this project will bring for passengers are substantial. It really is a case of short term pain for long term gain.”
The 20 CAF trams are due to enter service on the current route from 2014 and this will enable Centro to up the service frequency to 10 an hour – increasing capacity by 40% and easing the overcrowding which can be suffered during the morning peak. All of the trams will be in service by the time the Birmingham City Centre extension opens to New Street Station in 2015 which is currently under construction.