An iconic metal statue in Birmingham has been uprooted to make way for Midland Metro’s £149 million extension.
Based in Victoria Square for 24 years, the six tonne Iron: Man was lifted out of the ground by two cranes on September 5, marking the beginning of work on the tram extension to Westside – days after it received full financial backing.
Iron: Man was blocking the path of the new line and will now be cleaned by conservation specialists and put into storage before its return in 2018.
Preliminary groundworks began in the summer but the Department for Transport announced that major work will be underway on behalf of Midland Metro Alliance (MMA) in weeks after pledging £59.8 million to the project on September 1.
The remainder is being sourced from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Birmingham City Council, Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and third party developers.
Once it is fully operational in 2021 the tram route will be one of the first in the UK to operate on battery power alone.
It will feature five new stations: Town Hall, Centenary Square, Brindley Place, and either side of the Five Ways roundabout in Edgbaston.
As well as the Westside extension, MMA – which includes the WMCA, Egis, Tony Gee, Pell Frischmann, Colas Rail along with sub-alliance partners Barhale, Bouygues UK and Auctus Management Group – is also working on three other extensions.
The other extensions cover: branching off the existing city centre line to connect to Curzon HS2 station and on through Digbeth and north Solihull to the airport; a route between Brierley Hill, Dudley and Wednesbury connecting to the existing line between Birmingham and Wolverhampton; and an extension along Pipers Row in Wolverhampton.
West Midlands’ mayor Andy Street said, ‘Extending the Metro through the city centre to New Street station has already proved a tremendous success. People like the trams and want more of them.
‘That’s why we will be tripling the size of the network over the coming decade so our towns and cities are not only better connected to each other but also to the HS2 high speed rail line.
‘This will help create a transport network that can underpin economic growth and jobs and bring greater prosperity for everyone in the West Midlands.’