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Light rail news roundup Thursday December 10, 2020

In light rail news this week – ‘CAT’ team in the West Midlands, Infrastructure Manager vacancy at Metro, ‘Trambassadors’ for Manchester, kids activity packs in Edinburgh, tram benches in Blackpool and LRSSB develop hazard perception safety tool. 

Engineers from across light rail are being invited to have their say in setting new standards for key roles within the sector by taking part in a survey at (

UKTram is currently working with colleagues to develop new National Occupational Standards for tram and tramway engineers that set out the skills, knowledge and understanding required to undertake a particular task or job role to a nationally recognised level of competence.

Now the organisation is asking for feedback on the draft standards and a ‘Functional Map’ that provides analysis of the main functions of the roles for tram and tramway operatives and technicians and you can read the full story here (insert link)

In other light rail news:

West Midlands Metro

The network is looking to recruit an Infrastructure Maintenance Manager to join its growing team ahead of further network expansion.

Working for tram operator, Midland Metro Limited (MML), the successful candidate will be based at the Metro’s Wednesbury depot and be responsible for leading the delivery of a safe, compliant and efficient maintenance service.

Read the full story here.

Also in the West Midlands, regular patrols by the operator’s new Covid Advice Team (CAT) have received a warm welcome from customers since they first took to the network last week.

With the festive season fast approaching, CATs were introduced as part of efforts to keep customers safe as they prepare for Christmas under the current coronavirus restrictions and you can read more here (

Manchester Metrolink

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has announced a raft of high-profile measures aimed at keeping public transport users even safer, and boosting confidence, ahead of anticipated increase in travel post-lockdown.

All the new measures are set to roll out from early December and will include ‘trambassadors’ dedicated to helping people travel safely on Metrolink.

They will speak to customers about the latest guidance and safety measures, hand-out free face coverings and hand sanitisers and encourage off-peak travel and contactless payment options.

You can read the full story here.

Edinburgh Trams

A Christmas activity pack to keep the kids happy in the run up to the festive season is now available to download from the operator’s website.

The pack has everything needed to keep those little hands and minds occupied, including everything from word searches to a reindeer name call.

Youngsters can even get creative by designing their own Christmas jumper or drawing themselves into the tram driver’s seat. Of course, no Christmas pack would be complete without a letter to Santa and you can find out more here.

Blackpool Transport

Blackpool Transport has announced its Christmas timetables with trams continuing to run every 20 minutes during the daytime and every 30 minutes in the evening.

There are no tram services on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Years Day and you can see the full timetable here.

Sheffield Supertram

Frequency of services on the Yellow route have increased from this week. The route serving Meadowhall shopping centre now runs up to every 10 minutes in the morning and evening peak, every 12 minutes during the day and every 20 minutes at other times and you can read more here.

Tyne & Wear Metro

The Swiss company that’s building new trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro has announced a new collaboration with Newcastle University to promote shared learning and innovation.

Stadler has committed to collaborating with Newcastle University on a variety of projects, underscoring its commitment to North East England.

This follows the announcement in January that Nexus, the public body which own and manages Metro, had awarded it the contract to build, deliver and maintain 42 new trains and you can see the full story here.

Docklands Light Railway

A new contract will see the installation of new on-board communication systems on new CAF trains operated by Docklands Light Railway.

The deal with Teleste covers passenger information, public address and CCTV systems as well as ultrawide TFT displays of the newest type to 43 5-car driverless light metro trains, the first of which will enter commercial service in 2023.

The new trains will add capacity to the network by up to 30 per cent, thus supporting the continuously growing number of public transport users in the area.

Additionally, the trains will offer passengers an improved travel experience by increasing the availability of real-time travel information, which is one of the key functionalities enabled by Teleste’s passenger information system.

The full story can be found here.


Two new benches, inspired by Blackpool’s Heritage Trams have been installed in the town centre.

Artist Andy Hazell came up with the designs for the stainless steel benches after a visit to Blackpool Transport’s Rigby Road depot.

Taking inspiration from the town’s rich tram heritage, Andy created four unique designs for the new benches, and two of these have now been installed in Talbot Square and you can read more here.


Artificial intelligence and virtual reality are proving a further boost to tram safety with the development of new software.

As part of a project led and funded by the Light Rail Safety and Standards Board a new ‘hazard perception technology tool’, similar to that used by the DVLA for car licence testing, but specifically designed to meet the needs of the light rail sector, has been in ongoing development.

Immersing them in a digital virtual world, users can encounter a variety of both typical and unusual hazards in a recognisable working environment and you can read more about it here.


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