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Light rail news roundup Wednesday December 23, 2020

In our final round up of Light Rail news of 2020 – new Tyne & Wear depot opens, NET tram advert supports homeless charity, e-scooter parking at West Midlands tram stops, funding package for technical work on DLR extension, Christmas shutdown for Trams to Newhaven works and LRSSB leads ‘BowTieXP’ training.

As 2020 draws to a close, everyone at UKTram would like to wish members and stakeholders all the very best for the festive season.

This year has been like no other in modern times, but throughout the pandemic the light rail sector has consistently risen to the challenge of keeping key cities moving while UKTram has continued its vital work supporting the sector.

You can find out more about our recent activities by reading the latest issue of the UKTram newsletter, which can be viewed here


The light rail sector is a real hotbed of innovation with UKTram at the forefront of projects to develop greener, more efficient and even safer transport systems, industry leaders have heard.

As a keynote speaker at a high-profile conference last week, Managing Director, James Hammett, highlighted a wealth of initiatives championed by the light rail sector’s representative organisation.

He told delegates at the latest Unlocking Innovation event, organised by Railway Industry Association (RIA) and its partners Network Rail and UKRRIN that UKTram is helping to drive innovation across the sector.

This included leading projects that embrace virtual reality to improve driver recruitment and training and investigating new methods of tramway construction and you can read the full story here.

Tyne & Wear Metro

A new temporary depot, built to welcome the Tyne and Wear Metro’s new £362m fleet, has officially become operational.

The Howdon site in North Tyneside will be used to on-track the new Metro trains from 2022, and for maintenance of the current rolling stock while the main Gosforth depot in Newcastle is completely rebuilt.

Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, said it was another step in the process of getting new Metro trains – which will transform the customer experience when they start entering service and you can read the full story here.


An eye-catching 77-foot tramside advert and posters at 15 tram stops are drumming up vital donations for a Nottingham homeless charity.

The tram and posters highlight a winter fundraising appeal by Emmanuel House Support Centre that aims to help meet a £70,000 shortfall in the charity’s annual income.

With the catchline ‘You Can Make the Difference’, the campaign also has the support of Nottingham City Transport buses and NET’s print supplier Adverta.

Together they’ve donated advertising space valued at £25,000 that will provide unmissable support for homeless people across the city and you can read more here.

West Midlands Metro

The tramway is backing a temporary trial of e-scooters that’s being rolled out in West Bromwich town centre this month.

Anyone participating in the scheme, operated by Swedish company Voi, can leave scooters at tram stops with dedicated cycle bays. They must, however, park the scooter within the actual cycle bay.

As part of the trial, residents and visitors will be able to hire a Voi e-scooter to commute to work or move around West Bromwich and you can see more here.

Docklands Light Railway

A £1m joint funding package has been agreed for the next stage of technical work on proposed extension of the Docklands Light Railway to Beckton Riverside and Thamesmead.

Transport for London (TfL) has begun further feasibility work on the project following the confirmation of the new Thamesmead and Abbey Wood Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF).

It will be fully funded by external partners through a £1m joint funding agreement between the London Borough of Newham, the Royal Borough of Greenwich and developers and you can read the full story here.

Extension Projects

In Edinburgh, the Trams to Newhaven work sites have shut down for the Christmas break.

Contractors on the project will return to work on Monday, January 4 to review all safety measures ahead of recommencing construction activities on the following day.

All open excavations will be backfilled for health and safety purposes and to protect assets and you can see the full story here.


The first of a series of training events has marked the first steps towards building a comprehensive database of risks assessments for the light rail sector.

Led by the Light Rail Safety and Standards Board, the workshops included an introduction to the BowTieXP software that’s being used to build what promises to be an invaluable tool for the sector’s health and safety professionals. Read more here.

To be included in future weekly round-up’s, or the Members News section of our website, please send your press releases to