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Birmingham’s tram network begins journey towards tackling climate change

todayMay 16, 2021

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West Midlands Metro has taken delivery of the first of eight new state-of-the-art trams arriving this year ahead of the expansion of the region’s network.

The vehicle, which weighs 45.5 tonnes, has been carefully lowered down a specially built ramp onto the track.

The eight trams, manufactured to order by CAF, are arriving in the West Midlands over the next few months. The first five will be put into service later this year, ready for the opening of extensions to the network in Birmingham and Wolverhampton city centres.

A further 13 trams will be delivered in 2023 ahead of the opening of the Metro extension currently under construction between Wednesbury and Brierley Hill. The Metro expansion programme is being planned, designed and delivered by the Midland Metro Alliance.

The purchase of the 21 vehicles was part of an £83.5 million deal signed in 2019 between West Midlands Metro and manufacturer CAF.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “With the extension to the Westside of Birmingham nearing completion, and diggers in the ground on both the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill and Birmingham Eastside extensions, it is clear we are going to need significantly more trams in service as we attract more and more people onto the Metro.

“Not only are our trams a quick and easy alternative to the car, but they’re also far more environmentally friendly, helping to reduce air pollution and tackle the climate emergency.”

Cllr Ian Ward, the WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council, added: “Investment in public transport like this is a vital part of our work to reduce the region’s carbon footprint as well as supporting the region’s economic recovery after Covid by better connecting more people to more places for both work and leisure.”

The bright blue liveried trams can run under power from overhead electric cables while recharging the onboard battery ready for cable-free sections of the track.

Also included are technical support and battery management services over 30 years and an option to purchase a further 29 trams as the network grows.

 

Written by: David Watkins

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