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Light rail news roundup Thursday January 7, 2021

In the first Light Rail news round-up of 2021 – face covering rules enforced on Metrolink, VR headsets give Tyne & Wear drivers a virtual tour, new year fare changes in Nottingham and the West Midlands, cabmens shelter restoration completed at Crich and new audible warning guidance issued by LRSSB.  

A comprehensive ‘route map’ to help keep proposed light rail schemes on track has been published by UKTram.

Developed by experts at the organisation’s Centre of Excellence, the document can be viewed here and provides a step-by-step guide to building a solid case for proposals and a clear path towards successful operations.

Covering everything from research into potential demand to negotiating the planning process, it draws on a wealth of experience from across the sector. Its publication couldn’t be more timely, as an increasing number of cities and regional bodies are expressing an interest in light rail and you can read the full story here.

Website refresh

The route map is the latest addition to the UKTram website that’s received a significant refresh.

With the updated UKTram branding it also includes more information on the Centre of Excellence, a useful guide to the country’s light rail systems and a comprehensive document library.

Of course, there’s all the latest news from the organisation and its members, including a section covering the latest job vacancies, and you can check it out here

Still time to have your say

A final call has gone out to engineers who want to have a say in setting new standards for key roles within the light rail sector.

They have until next Tuesday (January 12) to take part a survey as UKTram works with colleagues to develop new National Occupational Standards for tram and tramway engineers. These NOS set out the skills, knowledge and understanding required to undertake a particular task or job role to a nationally recognised level of competence. You can read more on the story here or link directly to the survey here.

In other light rail news:

Manchester Metrolink

Police and transport staff in Manchester have once again joined forces to highlight the fact that people using public transport must wear a face covering unless exempt.

A day of action at Victoria station saw officers from Greater Manchester Police’s Transport Unit working with TravelSafe Partnership (TSP) staff and the new Metrolink trambassadors to engage with public transport users and educate them about the importance of face coverings.

The event also saw 500 face coverings distributed and you can read the full story here.

Tyne & Wear Metro

Drivers are getting a first glimpse of their new trains using virtual reality.

VR headsets, provided by the Swiss train builder, Stadler, offer an immersive experience that allows drivers to see inside the new cab before it has even been built.

The computer-generated images deliver a virtual tour of the new train’s state-of-the-art cab, allowing drivers to offer essential feedback on the controls, layout, and instrument displays. Click here for the full story.


Changes to fares on the popular NETGO! app have been introduced in Nottingham to bring them in line with ticket machine prices.

Single, Day, Week and Group fares bought through the app have gone up by between 10p and 50p, depending on the ticket.

The current lower prices available through NETGO! were offered as an introductory promotion when the app launched in October 2019. NET decided to extend the promotional period when the pandemic struck last year and you can read more here.

West Midlands Metro

As part of a fare review, the cost of many of the most popular tickets on West Midlands Metro have been frozen, although some changes were introduced on January 2.

Overall, the cost of travel will increase by less than 1% and customers will still be able to enjoy significant savings by choosing the best value tickets and more information can be found here.


Crich Tramway Village has reported that the restoration of the main structure of a rare and early example of a Cabmen’s Shelter is now complete.

Work started on the shelter early in 2020 and it’s now been returned to the museum and you can read all about it here.


New, updated guidance on the testing of audible warning systems has been published by the organisation responsible for further enhancing light rail safety.

Now available to download from the LRSSB website, the document draws on the experience of professionals from across the sector to update previously published guidance.

The guidance aims to ensure that the testing of audible warnings, such as tram horns, meet the requirements of light rail vehicles operating in areas they share with other road users and you can find out more by clicking here.