As railway staff set about installing new tram tracks in Birmingham city centre on Bonfire Night, linking Snow Hill and New Street, the first of a fleet of new trams was under test.
The new £40 million Urbos 3 tram fleet will run between Birmingham and Wolverhampton. The first tram arrived from CAF in Spain in October.
Says Roger Horton of Centro, the local PTE, ‘Trams are very much a transport mode of the future and this is a significant and symbolic moment for the Metro extension. In the year that sees the 60th anniversary of the last tram running in Birmingham we are seeing the first tracks go in for a new 21st century system.
‘These first tracks are another sign of the progress the scheme is making and people can see that the return of trams, with all the economic benefits they will bring, is that much closer.’ Balfour Beatty is building the extension which is scheduled to open in 2015. It will run from Snow Hill through Bull Street, Corporation Street and
Stephenson Street, terminating outside New Street station.
To keep disruption to a minimum the tracks are not being laid sequentially but at a number of different work sites across the city. Each work site is no longer than 50 metres in length.The new fleet of trams will start running next year.