Testing and commissioning starts to Edgbaston

Its been rare lately to have a positive news story from the West Midlands Metro but for once we can report on one as the first tram has reached Edgbaston Village on the second phase of the Birmingham Westside extension. Urbos100 45 was used for the first slow speed runs overnight on 4th April as finally more progress is seen on opening the delayed extension.

In scenes familiar to elsewhere in the UK, the first run along the extension ran at slow speeds with a team of engineers flanking it as it made its way between the current (if there is anything current on a suspended tram system that is…) terminus at Library, along Broad Street under the Five Ways underpass on to the new terminus at Edgbaston Village. This is considered as the start of testing and commissioning of the extension which will be ramped up over the coming months. Its still hoped that passenger services will start in June – although this is obviously a massive caveat linked to that.

Peter Cushing, Director of the Midland Metro Alliance, said: “It is fantastic that the first tram has now travelled along Broad Street as testing of the new route begins. This marks a significant milestone in the project and shows just how close we are to opening for passenger services. It is exciting to think that we will soon see passengers waiting at the new tram stops that we have recently built. The first tram test has proved a success and I would like to thank the team who have worked incredibly hard to reach this important phase in the project.”

The testing – which will now see daylight runs as well as overnight – will not only allow for the testing of tracks, signals and other infrastructure but will also allow people to get used to seeing trams travelling along the route before a regular passenger service starts.

Cristian Bostan, Head of Integration at the Midland Metro Alliance, said: “Testing and commissioning is an important phase which involves running out of service trams at low speeds along the newly installed track, allowing engineers to complete a series of tests in a working environment. I am delighted that we have now reached this essential phase in the project.”

Meanwhile, the whole line remains suspended and there is still no indication of when it may return to action. As from Monday 4th April the ticket acceptance on other forms of transport – rail and bus – was ended with full refunds being given on all Metro tickets. Passengers wishing to travel now have to make their own arrangements and pay the rail or bus fares as appropriate to get where they want to go.

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3 Responses to Testing and commissioning starts to Edgbaston

  1. Dingdingdave says:

    Maybe Brum should have bought their trams from the same company who supplies Manchester.

  2. David says:

    Or maybe we should reestablish tram building capability in the UK.

    • Peter Watts says:

      Quite ironic that when the UK did have a tram building capacity, only one UK operator, Nottingham, purchased trams from them. The remaining orders were for European operators. One of these, Strasbourg (France), is still running these trams built between 1992 and 1995 in front line service and although showing signs of a long operation life are only just now being withdrawn from service, most will have clocked up many kms over their 30 year service life.

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