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Midland Metro opened at last

01 Jul 1999

BRITAIN's third modern light rail line was formally opened on May 30 by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Birmingham Sue Anderson. Public services on Midland Metro Line 1 between Birmingham Snow Hill and Wolverhampton St George's (right) began the following day. Trams initially run every 10min, but operating concessionaire Travel Midland Metro plans to increase the daytime frequency to every 6min this month.

Despite 21 intermediate stops at an average spacing of 900m, the 20·4 km trip is scheduled to take 35min at a commercial speed of almost 35 km/h. This is possible because 18 km of the route uses a segregated former rail alignment.

Although the West Midlands Passenger Transport Authority allowed its powers to build Lines 2 and 3 to lapse, planning is continuing for an on-street extension in the centre of Birmingham from Snow Hill to Five Ways. Another would take over a mothballed Railtrack line between Wednesbury and the Merryhill shopping centre near Dudley.

  • Test running has started on the 0·8 km Cornbrook - Pomona section of the Manchester Metrolink extension to Eccles, after the overhead line equipment was energised on June 1. With the first of the LRVs ordered for the extension now delivered, Altram (Manchester) Ltd hopes to have the route open for traffic to Broadway by the end of this year.