In Pictures: Another tram arrives at Dudley

Over the past roughly 12 months we have been used to seeing trams move to the Dudley Very Light Rail Innovation Centre as its been the base for repairs to be undertaken on some of the Urbos3 trams to solve the cracked bodyside panel issue. When on Friday 24th November another tram was moved that way you would have expected it to be another of those trams on the back of the Allely’s low loader – but no, although it was a tram which once ran on the Midland Metro network, it was in fact the highest numbered of the T69s! Yes, 16 is now resident at the Very Light Rail Innovation Centre!

Obviously like all the Midland Metro/West Midlands Metro trams, 16 is not exactly a stranger to travelling on the back of a low loader. A few significant dates in its life: 11th March 1999 it was delivered to Wednsesbury Depot as a brand new tram, 14th August 2015 it was withdrawn from service and then on 19th August 2019 it became the last of the T69s to leave the depot when it was moved to Long Marston.

It had been kept at the depot for an extra three years, when compared to its sisters, as the original intention has been that it would be used as a works vehicle. However, this plan was never initiated and so storage at Long Marston beckoned. It remained at the main Long Marston site for some time but was more recently stored at the nearby International Metals and Cable Recycling compound. And its that location that 16 was picked up by Allely’s on Friday 24th November 2023.

16 arrived at Dudley around 1430 but the unloading took some time with the tram not having been moved on rails for several years. It was finally inside the same building that the Urbos3s are being repaired in at the Very Light Rail Innovation Centre at approximately 1730.

In order for 16 to be moved inside it was necessary for 32 – one of two Urbos3s currently on site for repairs – to be moved outside of the building allowing the unusual site of a tram minus many external panels in place.

Its expected that 16 will now become a test tram (if you recall when UKTram first acquired trams from both Manchester Metrolink and Midland Metro this is the reason given). It will firstly be stripped before being used to test new equipment once it is completed.

16 arrives in Dudley. Note that the tram still carries the adverts it had when it last ran in service!

16 is gently unloaded.

A close-up of the front of 16 on the back of the low loader.

32 temporarily stored outside as it waits for 16 to be unloaded.

Inside the building at the Very Light Rail Innovation Centre: 32 on the left, 16 on the right and 35 at the back. (All Photographs by Andy Walters, 24th November 2023)

This entry was posted in West Midlands Metro. Bookmark the permalink.