UK: The 1·4 km second phase of the Birmingham Westside light rail extension opened on July 17, adding three stops at Brindleyplace, Five Ways and the Edgbaston Village terminus.
Services run every 12 to 15 min, with peak time frequencies to be increased as more of West Midlands Metro’s older CAF trams become available for service following work to replace cracked body panels.
The Westside extension project was led by Transport for West Midlands, part of the West Midlands Combined Authority which owns the light rail system. TfWM worked with operator Midland Metro Ltd, Birmingham City Council and the Midland Metro Alliance. MMA is formed of Egis, Tony Gee and Pell Frischmann and construction contractor Colas Rail, with its sub-alliance partners Colas Ltd, Barhale, Bouygues UK and Auctus Management Group.
Construction cost €149m, including phase one between Grand Central and Library which opened in December 2019.
Cllr Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council, said ‘this new extension opens up more of our city centre to fast and clean tram services which can help further reduce car use and improve our air quality. It is a crucial part of our plans to decarbonise transport in the West Midlands through investment in cleaner bus, rail and road transport as well as offering more opportunities for walking and cycling.’
At the opposite end of the line, construction of the extension to Wolverhampton main line station is expected to be largely completed in July, with testing and commissioning to begin after the Commonwealth Games. Work on the Eastside extension to serve the future Birmingham Curzon Street HS2 station is also underway.