A recent update on the Midland Metro website has revealed that the first of 21 new Urbos 3 trams being built by CAF in Spain is due to arrive at the Wednesbury depot “very soon”, although no exact has been given as to when it will arrive at its new home. The update has also given the latest on construction of the Birmingham city centre extension and the expansion at the depot to cater for the new trams.
The first Urbos 3 tram (no confirmation has yet been given as to which number the tram will carry) is due to depart from the CAF factory at Zaragoza and will then take almost six days to make the journey by road, ferry and road. It will be transported on two low loaders and once it has arrived at Wednesbury the five sections will be reunited before testing commences in the new commissioning shed.
Work has now commenced in Birmingham city centre to construct the infrastructure for the extension which is due to open in 2015. In July and August Balfour Beatty have been working in Colmore Row and Bull Street with the initial concentration being on ground excavation and installation of cable ducts. They have now turned their attention to installing the first section of concrete track slab. Four new tram stops will be constructed as part of the line at Snow Hill (on the new viaduct), Bull Street, Corporation Street and Grand Central (adjacent to New Street station on Stephenson Street).
The new sidings and testing and commissioning building at Wednesbury Depot is now approaching completion ahead of the delivery of the first of its new residents.