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Light rail news roundup Thursday December 3, 2020

In light rail news this week – A ‘tramtastic’ baker in Edinburgh, record number of Metro drivers in training, award win for Midland Metro Alliance, Luas appeals for Christmas gifts for the homeless and winter service runs at Seaton Tramway

UKTram is set to play a key role in the development of specialised training programmes for the next generation of light rail engineers.

The organisation has been invited to join a ‘trailblazer’ review of engineering apprenticeships that aims to ensure future schemes meet the specific needs of the sector.

Representatives from heavy and high-speed rail, as well as light rail, recently met online to look at the development of Rail Engineering Operative Level 2 and Rail Engineering Technician Level 3 Apprenticeships and you can read the full story here.

In other light rail news:

Sheffield Supertram

Network Rail has launched a Tram Train Pilot Learning Hub on behalf of project partners, Network Rail, SYPTE, and Stagecoach Supertram.

The hub contains information on a wide range of themes and topics drawn from the collective experience of designing, constructing and operating the UK’s first Tram Train system.

It includes material on the Citylink Tram Train vehicle; infrastructure changes; safety, legal and regulatory requirements for operating Tram Train and you can find out more here.

Edinburgh Trams

Edinburgh born and bred, Peter Sawkins, may have been named the winner of this year’s Great British Bake Off but he’s not the only master baker in the city.

Edinburgh Trams Ticket Inspector, Irene Wadsworth, has scooped the top prize in the operator’s reward and recognition initiative after organising a charity cake bake.

Irene was nominated and chosen as this year’s You Are Tramtastic! winner for the event which raised over £450 for Macmillan Cancer Support and you can read the full story here.

Tyne & Wear Metro

A record number of new Metro drivers are in training at a new £8.4m Nexus Learning Centre in South Shields.

Thirty recruits – Metro’s biggest ever single intake of drivers – are among the first to use the purpose-built facility, which has opened its doors for the first time following the completion of construction work over the summer.

Nexus, the public body which owns and manages the Tyne and Wear Metro, has built the new Learning Centre to bring a wide range of rail infrastructure and operations training under one roof in a modern new setting.

You can read more about the project, which received a £7m grant from the Government’s Local Growth Fund here.


The Dublin network is calling on its customers to support an appeal for the city’s homeless families.

Usually at this time of year, elves would be busy preparing for the annual Fill-a-Luas event, which has seen 20,000 boxes filled with gifts donated to Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH).

While Santa’s tram won’t make it to Connolly Luas Stop this year for the event, ICHH still needs help and the operator is asking any Luas customers who can do so to show the same good will and generosity shown in previous years by donating to ICHH’s #SantaboxAppeal. Read more here. 

Extension Projects

The Midland Metro Alliance is celebrating after winning an accolade at the prestigious Institution of Civil Engineers West Midlands Awards for the third year in a row.

The alliance scooped the Education and Inspiration Award, for its Trailblazer Apprenticeship in Light Rail, during a virtual ceremony on Thursday 19 November. It follows similar success in the Communications Award category at last year’s event, and a 2018 win for a programme designed to help unemployed people gain new skills and experience in the construction sector.

Click here to read more.


This December trams will journey through the Axe Valley, with Seaton Tramway running a special winter service. Trams will run every 30 minutes between Seaton and Colyton from 10am on Saturday, December 5.

Yellow tram service will run every weekend in December and daily between December 21 and Christmas Eve and customer can enjoy a festive menu, including mulled wine and mince pies at the Tramstop Café.

Santa’s Elves will be present at Colyton Station entertaining visitors whilst on holiday from the North Pole. Activities suitable for all ages and abilities will be available and there’s more information here.

Due to the announcement of Tier 3 restrictions in the area, Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours has taken the difficult decision to cancel its Illuminations Tours for the remainder of 2020.

All bookings have been automatically cancelled and customers will be refunded without the need to contact the operator.

In a statement they’ve thanked customers for their support this year and say they look forward to seeing them again soon.


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