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Light rail news roundup Thursday November 19, 2020

In Light Rail news this week – NET renew community partnership, a rising star in the West Midlands, park & ride expansion in Greater Manchester, Sandilands inquest delayed and another milestone passed on Birmingham Westside extension.

A UKTram project to develop and refresh a set of sector-wide standards for key roles within light rail has taken a series of major steps forward.

Work is well underway on developing a suite of National Occupational Standards (NOS) for roles involving traction power and rolling stock as well as infrastructure maintenance.

Updating members on the project’s progress, Engineering Manager Craig O’Brien says that the organisation has already received and reviewed the current engineering job descriptions received from colleagues and 31 documents have been drafted so far, with more to follow.

These are currently being reviewed and will be returned to members for their consideration. The full update on the project can be found here.

In other light rail news:


Nottingham’s tram network has renewed a community partnership with a local charity that’s supporting the city’s homeless as the ongoing pandemic puts even more pressure on the most vulnerable.

NET is providing new travel passes to members of Framework’s street outreach team, who work with rough sleepers and say that free tram travel has proved invaluable since a partnership with the tram operator was first forged in 2018.

Since then, the team has been able to work more efficiently while cutting their costs.

Chris Williams, who oversees social responsibility for the operator, said the pandemic has only increased the difficulties for our most vulnerable citizens but it hasn’t stopped NET, wherever possible, engaging and supporting the communities it serves.

You can read the full story here.

West Midlands Metro

Colleagues in the West Midlands have been celebrating after one of their colleagues was named ‘Rising Star’ of the light rail sector.

Tom Rowe received the accolade during last week’s online Global Light Rail Awards ceremony which also saw the Metro highly commended in two other key categories.

Based at the operator’s Wednesbury depot, Tom has played a vital role in making travelling by tram an even safer experience, working closely with the police to further reduce the already low levels of crime reported on the network and you can read more about him here.

Sheffield Supertram

South Yorkshire’s Tram Train service will be used as a blueprint to benefit future UK transport schemes, as a two-year pilot to test the pioneering technology comes to an end.

Travelling on tramlines in Sheffield and the rail network in Rotherham, the award-winning service has taken on 1.5 million passenger journeys, and celebrated a 100% satisfaction rate, since its launch in October 2018.

The scheme’s success has driven a commitment for Tram Train to continue to run in South Yorkshire beyond the end of the pilot according to a report published by South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE).

The full story from the local government body responsible for public transport in the Sheffield City Region, can be found here.

Manchester Metrolink

Plans to increase park and ride provision on the network have been given the green light – boosting access to sustainable transport.

Transport for Greater Manchester reports that plans to increase the number of spaces in Radcliffe by 111 to 480 and at Whitefield by 123 to 331, were approved last night by members of Bury Council’s Planning Committee.

The plans will see single additional decks added to the existing sites as well as increased lighting, signage, CCTV, electric vehicle charging points and cycle storage.

To minimise the impact, the closures will be staggered with Whitefield closing first in Summer 2021 and re-opening ahead of Radcliffe, which will close in Autumn 2021 and re-open in Winter 2021/22.

You can read more about the plans here.

Tyne & Wear Metro

The Tyne and Wear Metro is to operate a reduced frequency winter timetable while it catches up with driver training schools that were halted earlier this year due to lockdown.

Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, will introduce the new timetable from Sunday 29 November and it will remain in place until March 2021.

Full details of the new timetable can be found here.

London Tramlink

The inquest into the London Tramlink derailment at Sandilands in November 2016 will now not take place until spring 2021, according to media reports.

The inquest had originally been due to start on October 10 but was delayed as a result of Coronavirus restrictions and with England now in lockdown it has been decided this delay will be extended until next year British Trams Online reports.

Extension Projects

Local leaders have congratulated workers following the installation of a key piece of tramway infrastructure in another milestone for the Birmingham Westside Metro extension to Edgbaston.

The switch and crossing was successfully installed on Hagley Road following weeks of intricate construction activity beginning in late-October.

A video which shares a closer look at the work has also been released and to mark the occasion Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, shared messages with the construction workers.

The video can be viewed here.


The world’s first comprehensive safety study of driver monitoring technology has won sector-wide recognition, capturing top honours for the year’s Significant Safety Initiative at the Global Light Rail Awards.

The LRSSB commissioned the study from Ian Rowe Associates and they were jointly awarded the honour in the face of tough international competition.

The accolade follows a year of rigorous tests on safety systems designed to monitor driver vigilance and speed management and you can read the full story here.

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