The first of 21 new trams to cater for the ever expanding West Midlands Metro network has arrived at Wednesbury Depot. 39 was delivered to the depot on Wednesday 28th April having set out from Spain earlier in the week and will now start the initial commissioning process before it enters service, likely to be later in 2021.
39 is just the first of 21 (with an option for a further 29) third generation Urbos trams being built by CAF as part of an £83.5 million deal to provide enough capacity as the West Midlands Metro expands over the coming years. This will start with the further extension of the Birmingham Westside line to Hagley Road, Edgbaston and also to Wolverhampton Railway Station before additional lines to Brierley Hill and the Birmingham Eastside line follow in the coming years.
These new trams are being fitted with batteries from new (the original 21 Urbos3 trams were retrofitted with batteries of course) to allow them to run on catenary free sections without any problems but will also be capable of running under overhead power in the main.
The trams will be numbered in the 38 to 58 number range although the first to make the trip from Spain has been the second numbered, 39. It is expected 38 will follow shortly. Unlike all previous deliveries from CAF 39 arrived in one complete section (previously they were sent in two parts) and made its way gradually up to Wednesbury on Wednesday 28th April with arrival during the early evening.
After unloading 39 was transferred to the workshops where initial commissioning will take place before it undergoes mileage accumulation runs and eventual entry into service.
- And talking of new trams, up on Manchester Metrolink Tuesday 27th April saw the entry into service of two more of the new M5000s. Both 3122 and 3123 carried their first passengers (coupled to other trams as opposed to each other as they had been during mileage accumulation. This now means three of the eventual 27 trams of this batch have now entered service. 3124 and 3125 are also in Manchester but have yet to start mileage accumulation.