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Light rail news roundup Friday November 13, 2020

In this weeks Light Rail News – More trams for Metrolink, an early finish at Supertram, no fare changes in Tyne & Wear and business case remains positive for Trams to Newhaven extension project.

UKTram would like to offer its congratulations to all the winners at last night’s Global Light Rail Awards.

During an entertaining and informative ‘virtual’ ceremony, hosted by journalist and broadcaster Nicholas Owen, operators and suppliers from around the world were recognised for their achievements during a challenging year for everyone.

Held online due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event saw numerous UKTram members scooping top honours and commendations in key categories and you can see a full breakdown of the winners here.

You can also read the full story on the awards here.

As one of the headline sponsors, UKTram would also like to say a huge ‘well done’ to the organisers, Mainspring for continuing to highlight excellence within the light rail sector.

Group meeting

The impact of the latest government coronavirus restrictions proved the headline topic of conversation at a recent meeting of marketing and customer services professionals from across the sector.

During an online meeting of the UKTram Marketing, Communications and Customer Services Group, members heard that most networks had seen a significant increase in patronage following the easing of restrictions over the summer.

However, customer numbers have fallen back again with the introduction of more stringent measures last week – although not to the same levels as during the original lockdown.

You can read more about the meeting here.

In other light rail news:

Sheffield Supertram

Due to the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, Sheffield Supertram has made further changes to its services.

All routes are operating to the current timetables, but services will end at around 8pm every day.

The current frequencies of service are unchanged and customers travelling after 19:00 may use their tram tickets to travel on alternative First and Stagecoach bus services.

The full story can be viewed here.

Manchester Metrolink

The first of 27 new Metrolink trams are set to arrive in Manchester this week, boosting capacity on the network and providing more space for social distancing.Once testing and commissioning is complete, the first tram will be put into service before Christmas, with further trams set to arrive every 3-4 weeks after that. Each new tram will be the M5000 model – the same as the existing fleet – and, once in full service the new arrivals will increase capacity on the network by 15%, enabling Metrolink to run more double trams for customers. You can read more about the new arrivals here.

Metrolink has also seen the success of the Trafford Park Metrolink Line recognised with three prestigious national industry awards. The project won in three different categories at the British Construction Industry Awards last week: Transport Project of the Year, Health, Safety and Wellbeing Initiative of the Year and Overall Project of the Year.

Tyne & Wear Metro

A decision on Metro fares in 2021 has been put on hold to allow for further talks with the Government over a Recovery Plan for the network.

The annual fare review has been deferred so that Metro operator, Nexus, has more time to develop and agree a Recovery Plan with the Department for Transport, which will include an agreed approach to future fare changes. You can read more here.

Extension Projects
An update to the final business case (FBC) for the Trams to Newhaven project in Edinburgh has concluded that the economic case for the scheme remains positive.
A recent review aimed to assess the impact any changes in public transport demand as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
This week members of the Transport and Environment Committee will be asked to consider the updated FBC and to approve continuing with the construction of the project and you can read the full story here.


The organisation responsible for driving forward light rail safety week has stepped up its engagement with stakeholders with the launch of a new Newsletter.

The first of what will become a regular round-up of the organisation’s activities, it includes updates on a range of projects, including the testing of new driver monitoring technology and the establishment of working groups to drive forward new safety standards.

There’s also an introduction from our Chief Executive, Carl Williams, and it can be viewed here.

To be included in the next round-up, or the Member’s News section of the website, send your press releases to