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Mike's Page

I intend to use this page to let you know about one or two of the lesser known facts about Midland Metro and also answer the various questions that I receive. Bob Tarr seems to think that I will be able to get full details of the metro up and running on this page in a matter of days but I do have a full time job to do and can only spend some of my spare time on the project.

According to one newspaper report the building of the metro has released ghosts into properties adjacent to the route. This type of claim was made when the first generation of electric tramways were built but it is a problem that I will have to leave to Mulder and Scully. My interest in spirits is confined to military ones (Generals Booth, Gordon and Haig).

Jonesey asks where he can get information on Midland Metro and other UK light rail systems. Over the last 9 years the LRTA and Platform 5 Publishing have produced a series called Light Rail Review and I recommend that you look at these. Issues 2 to 8 are available from LRTA Publications at;

13A, The Precinct, Broxboune, Herts. EN10 7HY.

Platform 5 Publishing have also produced two books relating to UK light rail, namely;

Manchester Metrolink By David Holt, and Tram to Supertram by Peter Fox, Roger Benton and Paul Jackson.

The latter is available from the above address but the LRTA does not have any copies of the Manchester book and neither do Platform 5 list it anymore.Modern Railways has done some specials on London, which cover Docklands and Croydon, and the former used to do their own booklet which was available from the tourist centre at Island Gardens. Of course if you can find a library that has Light Rail & Modern Tramway/Tramways and Urban Transit then these should be a useful source.

I have also had a request for details on the former tramways that served Birmingham and the Black Country. In fact information on Birmingham is remarkably sparse. However the LRTA will be publishing one of its "network" books to co-incide with the opening of Midland Metro which will give a brief summary of each local system. Tramway Review will also be commorating the opening with a history of the tramways that linked Birmingham and Wolverhampton. These will be available from the above address.

Wayne Greensill has asked some questions on staffing and security of the metro. He does seem to think that I am part of Travel Midland Metro which is not the case. However I think I can answer most of his questions, which are:

"How are you going about people getting on the tram without having tickets as I believe ypu have to get your tickets from the ticket machine situated at each stop?"

Inspectors will be used to monitor this and make random checks. The best way of doing this is statistical sampling by which you calculate just how many checks one should do to catch persistant offenders. I hope its done better than in Germany where you can go around for two weeks and not see a single inspector.

"Will there be a conductor on day and night to catch people?"

Not as far as I am aware but see above re inspectors.

"How safe will the tram driver be as we get reports of bus drivers being attacked?"

Very safe. They are in their own cabs with radio contact to base and the police.

What time will trams be running to at night?"

23.30hrs.

What happens on Match days when you have the Wolves playing Albion and you have shoppers and old people using the tram at the same time? What if trouble breaks out?

Security on the line is the responsibility of the British Transport Police and I suspect that Travel West Midlands will make sure that they cover this as much as possible. Phil Bateman is an Albion fan, despite living in Wolverhampton, and his days of getting beaten up are long past it. Security will be in existence at some level all the time, not only on match days.

Mike Ballinger

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