As milestones of a project go its pretty major, and now the last piece of track for the second phase of the Birmingham Westside extension of the West Midlands Metro has been welded into place. The final piece to be put into its final position was on Hagley Road, close to the terminus of the line, and marks the end of track laying and means the start of passenger services – “later in 2021” – moves a step closer.
Michael Anderson, Projects Director for West Midlands Metro, said: “It is incredibly exciting that the team have continued to press ahead whilst at the same time implementing new and unforeseen safety measures to reach this milestone. What the team at the Midland Metro Alliance have achieved in the last 12 months despite all the challenges they’ve faced is brilliant, and I know businesses on Broad Street will be thankful that we’ve been able to move forward with the works during lockdown to minimise the impact as they begin to reopen. This is a significant stage in the project as it means that we are ever closer to unlocking the many benefits the extension will bring to every part of our region, whilst other extensions to the East of Birmingham and from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill in the Black Country continue at pace as part of a wider transport plan for the West Midlands.”
While this is the end of track laying it won’t be the end of works as there still remain some to be completed over the coming months. This includes “street scene improvements” and the installation of overhead line equipment. Before passenger services start there will also be the all important testing and commissioning process.
Director of the Midland Metro Alliance, Peter Cushing, said: “Our teams have continued to work incredibly hard and have shown great commitment to complete this stage of the project. It is fantastic to see main construction coming to an end and the area has really transformed in recent weeks with the installation of new paving along Broad Street and Hagley Road. All at the alliance share great pride in delivering such a transformative tram extension for the city and we are delighted to see the area beginning to take shape.”
An exact opening date for the line has yet to be announced but will not be until after the summer as there will be a closure in the city centre to allow work to take place at Bull Street where a junction for the Birmingham Eastside extension will be constructed.
When the line does open it will see services extended from the current terminus at Library to Hagley Road in Edgbaston with new stops also provided at Brindleplace and Five Ways.