There is a chink of light at the end of what seems to have been a very long tunnel with the opening of the Midland Metro extension to Grand Central now seemingly only a week away after the start of driver training. The first driver training runs took place on Monday 23rd May with seven days required for this before a start of passenger operations.
As we reported last week the planned for opening – on Sunday 22nd May – wad cancelled after Centro discovered some rectification work was required. This work – which is being described as being needed to “correct minor alignment problems” – was completed over the weekend which has allowed the start of driver training. With seven days driver training scheduled this means that we may see an opening of the line possibly over the Bank Holiday weekend. Obviously having had their fingers burnt once Centro are remaining tight lipped over an opening day at this stage and there needs to be seven days of “successful” driver training before passengers will be allowed on board.
Curiously – although possibly understandably in the light of recent events – the news that driver training has commenced is included in a press release announcing that a tram is to be named after Ozzy Osborne! The as yet unidentified tram will be officially named by the Rock icon (born in Aston so there is a local connection) at the Corporation Street stop on Thursday 26th May at 11am. Ozzy is apparently delighted with the naming saying: “It’s a great honour to have a new tram named after me, I’m proud to be a Brummie and this means so much.”
Centro have also confirmed that the Department for Transport have given formal approval for the extension from Grand Central to Centenary Square via Victoria Square. This line is currently scheduled for opening in 2019.
So after last week’s bad news from Centro it seems that there is some positivity to come very soon and it won’t be long before you can enjoy a ride from Bull Street through to Grand Central via Corporation Street.