After 31 days without any service at all West Midlands Metro services will resume from the start of service on Wednesday 15th December. It will only be a phased return with trams running between Wolverhampton St George’s and Bull Street (the line through Birmingham City Centre to Library will follow later) every 10 minutes but at least it’s a start for normality to return on the West Midlands Metro.
Unless you’ve not been concentrating over the past month you will know that all services on the network were suspended from Saturday 13th November after the discovery of further cracks on the CAF built Urbos3 trams which required the complete withdrawal of the fleet for permanent repairs to be undertaken (earlier this year the tram had been withdrawn for what are now described as temporary repairs to the cracking issue). This suspension was originally announced as being for at least 4 weeks and in the end it hasn’t been much longer than that before services could resume.
In a statement on the West Midlands Metro website it is said: “The programme of permanent repairs to West Midlands Metro’s tram fleet is progressing well and passengers can be reassured that all trams have been subject to comprehensive safety checks as part of the repair process.
“A number of new trams are also in the final stages of testing and commissioning, enabling a phased return to service.
“Engineers continue to work tirelessly on repairs and there will be a gradual return to full service along the entire route as more trams become available.
“As always, the safety of our colleagues and customers remains our priority, and the new trams entering service for the first time will have completed an extensive testing and commissioning process before carrying any passengers.”
Over the past few days a number of trams have been seen out on test – at least six different examples have been noted – although it is not yet known exactly how many have been cleared for service again. In addition the new Urbos 100 trams are also under commissioning and are expected to join the fleet soon to give further capacity.
West Midlands Metro’s statement continued: “Once again, we are sorry for the inconvenience caused by the suspension of services, and we continue to focus on delivering a safe and secure, reliable and sustainable service. As more trams are repaired and new trams join the fleet, we will seek to extend the service to Library at the earliest opportunity.”