West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) awarded CAF a EUR 90 million contract on the supply of 21 catenary-free trams for Birmingham. The contract includes an option for 29 additional trams. Under the contract, CAF will provide technical support services and will supply of spares for a 30-year term.
The first Urbos trams are expected to be delivered in late 2021.
The new bidirectional Urbos trams will be equipped with an on-board energy storage solution which eliminates the need for potentially disruptive and expensive installation of overhead electrification equipment and helps protect architecturally sensitive areas around the city centre. The solution also provides substantial improvements in energy efficiency.
The Urbos articulated tram has two cabs, offering passengers easy access with its low floor. The unit is designed for a maximum speed of 70 km/h with the capability to run on catenary-free sections when using the battery on-board energy storage solution.
CAF supplied the current fleet of 21 Urbos trams for Birmingham in 2012. In 2018 these units were subsequently fitted with the Greentech on-board energy storage solution with Ion-Lithium batteries enabling catenary-free running. The new trams will join the existing Urbos fleet on the Midland Metro line linking Birmingham and Wolverhampton and the extension to Centenary Square, which is scheduled to open in early 2020. It will become the first commercial tram line in the UK designed for catenary-free running.
“These new trams are a real game-changer for our expanding Midland Metro network, and I am delighted we have put pen to paper with CAF. These next-generation trams are battery powered, designed to operate on new sections of the line between Grand Central and Hagley Road, which are free of overhead cables,” Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said.