It has been confirmed that Midland Metro services will start operating to Bull Street in Birmingham City Centre from 6th December however in a change of plan the full extension will not now open this year with a “scaling down” of works on the remainder of the line in the lead up to Christmas following discussions with traders in the city.
As you will remember Midland Metro services have been terminating at St Paul’s since 25th October to allow for the city centre extension to be connected to the existing line. In addition to the work to join the two lines together other infrastructure works have been taking place over the past few weeks including the installation of overhead but it has not been possible to progress with works beyond Bull Street as quickly as had been hoped. Discussions between Centro and city traders led to the conclusion that too much work could cause major disruption during the busiest shopping period of the year.
Sunday 6th December will see the start of services to Bull Street – some 62 years since the last tram route closed in Birmingham City Centre. The next three weeks will need to see the first test trams across the junction at St Paul’s and onto the new line to Bull Street before final confirmation can be given that everything is ready to go.
Although works are being scaled down after 6th December beyond Bull Street it is planned that trams will run to New Street station during this period, but only on test. Passenger services will not start, however, until infrastructure and test running has been completed.
Geoff Inskip, Centro Chief Executive, said: “We recognise this is a vital time of year for retailers and they need to provide the most attractive shopping environment possible, which is why we have scaled back our works. Doing so shows Birmingham is very much open for business and can lay on a truly magical festive atmosphere for everyone coming to the city. There has been a tremendous effort from everyone involved in this project with people working around the clock in recent weeks. I would particularly like to thank Retail Birmingham for all its support and co-operation. It is because of that hard work that we will be able to start running trams into the city centre at Bull Street before Christmas. However, as with all tram extensions through city centres at the moment there are always unforeseen challenges and that makes it difficult to give an exact date for when we will run trams to New Street Station.”