Its been a day of tram testing – whilst in Blackpool its been the last day of testing on the North Station extension (more on that in the next article) down on the West Midlands Metro it was the first day of testing to Edgbaston Village.
Originally due to open in late 2021, the opening of the second phase of the Birmingham Westside extension between Library and Edgbaston Village has been much delayed, thanks in no small part to the tram shortages caused by the withdrawal of the entire fleet of Urbos3 trams earlier this year. There have been some initial test runs to the new terminus but up until recently there still remained work to be completed at Edgbaston Village and at various other points on the route.
It has long been the aspiration of local leaders that the extension will be open by the start of the Commonwealth Games (due to begin 28th July) but this had looked to be rather optimistic with there not having even been enough trams in order to run a service on the full network as far as Library let along on this new section and seemingly no tram moves on the extension.
But in another we can prove you wrong moment, Tuesday 5th July saw daylight testing along the route using Urbos100 38. Of note during these test runs was the presence of workmen removing cones to allow trams to go through, obviously by the time there are more regular movements all these cones will have been permanently removed.
The route – which includes a short section of overhead wire leading up to the new terminus – carries on beyond the Library stop along Broad Street with stops at Brindleyplace and Five Ways before heading through the Five Ways underpass and on to Hagley Road when Edgbaston Village terminus is located.
There’s no official word on when services may commence – or even when trams will get as far as Library – but the start of testing can only be a positive sign that it won’t be too long before they do.
Video courtesy of Podbaba Transport