West Midland Metro tram at Wolverhampton station (Photo Midland Metro Alliance)

UK: A 600 m branch of the West Midlands Metro light rail network to Wolverhampton railway station was opened on September 17, including an intermediate stop at Pipers Row to serve the city’s bus station.

‘With two new stops and services up to every 10 min, this latest extension to our tram network is set to deliver a wealth of benefits for both new and existing customers’, said West Midlands Metro Interim Managing Director Sophie Allison. ‘Visitors from outside the area by bus or train can simply hop on a tram for onward travel to some of the region’s top cultural and sports venues, while local communities will benefit from an even better-connected transport network.’

The previous St George’s terminus in the shopping district is expected to reopen later this year, with tram services to and from Birmingham then alternating between the St George’s and Railway Station branches.

The £50m project to build the catenary-free extension was led by Transport for West Midlands, part of the West Midlands Combined Authority which owns the light rail system.

TfWM worked with Midland Metro, City of Wolverhampton Council and the Midland Metro Alliance of Egis, Tony Gee and Pell Frischmann and construction contractor Colas Rail with sub-alliance partners Colas Ltd, Barhale, Bouygues UK and Auctus Management Group.

‘It has been a complex construction process, working in a busy city centre, and we know it has been a frustrating time for local people and businesses’, said Laura Shoaf, Chief Executive of the Combined Authority. ‘But it is fantastic now to see the extension ready to open and welcome passengers on board.’

City council Director of Resident Services John Roseblade said ‘extending the Metro to the very front door of our new railway station is part of ensuring our award-winning Interchange project delivers the very best gateway to our city for all modes of transport.’