Birmingham tram extension opens

West Midlands Metro has opened Birmingham LRT westside extension to the Library of Birmingham and other destinations in the Centenary Square area. The two new stops – Town Hall and Library, were put into operation, following successful testing.

A six minute peak time service will now deliver passengers to the Library of Birmingham, Symphony Hall, ICC, Birmingham Rep, the Council House and Town Hall and offices in and around Centenary Square and Victoria Square.

“This tram extension is open in time for Christmas, but will serve the West Midlands for years to come. We said it would be open by the end of 2019, and here it is ready to go with three weeks to spare,” said Laura Shoaf, managing director of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM).

It is the first time in the UK that trams have used battery power, which run along the 840-metre route specifically built without overhead wires, preventing the need to attach cables to historic listed buildings such as Birmingham Town Hall and also reducing the line’s carbon footprint.

Work on the first section of the Westside extension began in 2017 and construction was carried out by the Midland Metro Alliance* (MMA), a consortium set up by TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), to build a series of tram extensions across the region.

The second phase of the Birmingham Westside extension will see the tramway further extended from Centenary Square along Broad Street to Hagley Road in Edgbaston. This part of the overall extension will be approximately 1.35 km long and together with the Hagley Road terminus will feature intermediate stops at Brindleyplace and Five Ways.

*The MMA consists of the West Midlands Combined Authority, which owns West Midlands Metro; a consortium of design experts from Egis, Tony Gee and Pell Frischmann; and rail construction specialists Colas Rail – with Colas’ sub-alliance partners Colas Ltd, Barhale, Bouygues UK and Auctus Management Group.

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