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13 October 2014 - Public to have their say on Midland Metro extension

The public are being invited to give their views on plans for a further extension of the Midland Metro through the heart of the Digbeth area of Birmingham.

Following an initial public consultation in February this year a tram route from Bull Street in the city centre to the proposed HS2 high speed rail station at Curzon Street has already been agreed.

But after transport chiefs secured extra Government money this summer to take the extension on further into Digbeth the public are now being offered a chance to have their say on which of two possible routes the trams should take.

A series of exhibitions are also being staged in the city centre for people to ask questions and give feedback.

For detais of the route and exhibition details visit the Metro website

5 September 2013 - Public consultation on the planned extension to Centenary Square

The West Midlands transport authority Centro has published its revised plan to extend the Midland Metro in Birmingham city centre to Centenary Square. The extension will run from the new terminus stop on Stephenson Street outside New Street Station, traveling along Pinfold Street and turn west onto Victoria Square, with a new stop at the Town Hall. From here, the extension travels along Paradise Street to Paradise Circus then turns onto Broad Street, where it will continue until it reaches the route terminus at Centenary Square.

Although Centro already has approval to extend the Metro they are proposing to adjust the alignment in the vicinity of the Paradise Circus redevelopment to give better integration with the development. The benefits of this route adjustment mean that the costs to build the Metro extension are reduced as there is no need to build a bridge over the Suffolk Street Queensway tunnels. The extension from New Street station would include two stops one at the Town Hall and the new terminus at Centenary Square

The change to the route requires a supplementary Transport and Works Act (TWA) Order. The public consultation on the planned extension will run until the end of September 2013 with the TWA application planned to be submitted before the end of the year. If granted, work on the project would start in 2015, with the extended tram system scheduled to be opened for public use in 2017.

1 May 2013 - Proposed Wolverhampton extension

The proposed Metro extension is planned to be fully integrated with the Wolverhampton Interchange project and associated developments and construction is to be closely co-ordinated to minimise disruption.

The extension would divert from the current route just past the Crown & County Court building before the current Terminus to run along Piper's Row with a stop directly outside the bus station before terminating at the rail station. This route is intended to support the regeneration of Wolverhampton City Centre and provide a more effective interchange between tram, bus and train.

The proposal is to maintain the terminus at the St George's Stop. Most trams would travel along Piper's Row to the rail station. However, to improve flexibility at certain times of the day, the trams could use the St George's Stop.

23 February 2013 - Midland Metro to close over Easter

Midland Metro is to temporarily close this Easter while work continues on a £128m project to extend and improve the tram system. The line between Birmingham and Wolverhampton will close on Friday March 29 and reopen on Monday April 15.

The work will include modifying existing platforms for a £40m new fleet of trams. The 20 vehicles will come into service during 2014 to increase the frequency to ten trams an hour. The new trams will increase capacity by 40%, easing overcrowding. The whole fleet will be running by 2015 when the extension from Snow Hill to New Street station opens.

17 February 2012 - Midland Metro tram extension in Birmingham gets Government go-ahead

Local Transport Minister Norman Baker has announced that construction can now begin on an extension to the Midland Metro from Snow Hill Station through the city centre to New Street Station,

The GBP128m scheme will also deliver a new fleet of trams to run on the extended route.

The Department for Transport will provide GBP75.4m towards the cost of the scheme which is being led by Centro, the region?s transport authority, in partnership with Birmingham City Council and the Black Country district authorities.

This decision gives final approval for Centro to forge ahead and sign contracts for the new fleet of trams, a bigger maintenance depot at Wednesbury and for the construction of the city centre extension.

The announcement grants Full (final) Approval to the Midland Metro Extension to Birmingham City Centre, Fleet Replacement and Depot Enhancement scheme enabling work to begin.

The first new tram is scheduled to come into service on the existing line in February 2014. The enlarged depot will be available in August 2013 and the city centre extension with the full new tram fleet should be in service from March 2015.


3 February 2012 - CAF chosen as preferred bidder for new Midland Metro

Centro has announced its preferred bidder for the new multi-million pound tram fleet that will take the Midland Metro into the 21st century.

Spanish tram manufacturer CAF has been chosen as the front-runner to supply up to 25 Urbos 3 trams in a deal worth in the region of GBP 40 million.

The order will replace the current 16-strong fleet to deal with the expected growth in use of the Metro once the extension between Snow Hill and New Street via Bull Street, Corporation Street, and Stephenson Street is open.

The new trams will start running from late 2014 on the current route from Snow Hill to Wolverhampton, with the Midland Metro extension from Birmingham Snow Hill to Birmingham New Street station coming on line in 2015.

The new, bigger trams will also provide far greater passenger capacity between Birmingham and the Black Country.

CAF (Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocariles) is based in Spain and produces trams which operate on a number of worldwide systems as well as a wide range of railway rolling stock.

The current 16-strong fleet will initially be replaced with 19 of the new vehicles to deal with the increased frequency and expected growth in use of the Metro once the extension between Snow Hill and New Street via Bull Street, Corporation Street and Stephenson Street is open.

The Urbos 3 is a five section air-conditioned tram with a passenger capacity of approximately 200, compared to 156 on the current trams, has two dedicated spaces for wheelchair users and its features will be fully compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act.

Each section will have passenger information and CCTV information and protection, and Passenger Assistance Units at each door.

The Urbos 3 is built in Zaragoza, Spain. CAF has trams successfully in use in cities around the world including Zaragoza, Seville and Belgrade and are currently manufacturing trams for Houston and Nantes.

The new trams will be approximately 30 per cent bigger than the vehicles they replace, allowing more frequent services to be operated and significantly increasing the passenger-carrying capacity of the system.

CAF currently employs around 50 people in the UK at offices in Coventry, Edinburgh, and Belfast.

If awarded the Midland Metro contract CAF will project manage the introduction of the new vehicles from Coventry.

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