This is, unfortunately, not one of those articles where we forgot we’d already run the story – once again West Midlands Metro services have been severely disrupted due to overhead line problems. Coming less than a day after the previous issue was fixed the only difference this time is that it is on the northern section of the line at Bilston.
The last overhead problem was at Jewelry Quarter from the start of service on Saturday 17th July but this had been fixed sufficiently to allow trams to run through the area from shortly before 0900 the following morning. These repairs, however, weren’t a complete fix obviously as it was decided that further maintenance was needed after 2200 on Sunday 18th July leading to a temporary service change of no trams between Library and Handsworth Booth Street.
OK you’d think, its just finishing off the repairs to make sure that everything was running fine for the morning rush hour on Monday 19th July. Well, things were running as normal through this section at the start of the day but further north on the line it was a different story. First announced around 1900 on Sunday evening, there was an overhead issue at Bilston which meant it now wasn’t possible for any trams to run between Wednesbury Parkway and Wolverhampton St George’s.
Assessment and repairs of this section of overhead have been underway from Monday 19th July but as this article is written there is no indication of when a full service may be able to resume along the complete West Midlands Metro line.
In the meantime trams have been running every 10 minutes between Wednesbury Parkway and Library with ticket acceptance also in place to allow long-suffering passengers to continue their journeys through to Wolverhampton. This includes National Express bus service 79 between Wolverhampton St George’s and Wednesbury to connect with the tram at Wednesbury Great Western Street and West Midlands Railway services between Wolverhampton and Birmingham.
In the information provided on the West Midlands Mero website it says “We are committed to keeping our customers moving… Further updates will be provided as more information becomes available. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause”.
While most people will understand that things do sometimes happen to prevent a normal service from operation the fact that it seems to becoming a very regular occurrence on the West Midlands Metro must be a cause for concern and will surely impact on the hoped for increase in passenger numbers over the coming months as restrictions are eased. Maybe its time for a public statement from senior staff at the Metro – and Transport for West Midlands – to explain what is happening and why as the situation we are seeing at the moment surely can’t be allowed to continue?