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Light rail news round up 25th February 2021 Thursday February 25, 2021

In this weeks light rail news – works mean changes to services in Blackpool and the West Midlands, 50th ‘day of action’ in Manchester, app tracks depot rebuild progress in Tyne and Wear, works contracts awarded for extensions to DLR Beckton depot and £30m development at Black Country Living Museum. 

Kicking off next week, the first round of the ‘World Cup of Trams’ will see the public voting via Twitter for their favourite tram stops and vehicles.

The competition offers a fun way to help keep the benefits of light rail in the public eye as many operators continue to find it difficult to generate positive digital media content due to the ongoing pandemic.

The poll opens at 8am on Tuesday, March 2 ahead of further rounds of the competition over the following weeks, and you can find out more here.

In other light rail news:

West Midlands Metro

Teams from Midland Metro Ltd, have been working around the clock to complete a series of projects ahead of lockdown restrictions easing and more passengers returning to public transport.

The Metro service was suspended to allow an intensive programme of works on Saturday night and throughout Sunday including upgrades to overhead lines and electrical equipment at key locations.

The planned work was brought forward to take advantage of fewer people currently using Metro due to Covid-19 restrictions and you can read the full story here.

Blackpool Transport

The second phase of track works are taking place in Blackpool this week. A reduced tram service remains in operation while works take place on specific sections of the system.

Trams will run between Harrow Place and Uncle Tom’s Cabin and an increased bus service is in operation as an alternative for customers travelling to and from Fleetwood, Cleveleys and Starr Gate. You can read more here.

Manchester Metrolink

The TravelSafe Partnership in Manchester has marked its 50th ‘day of action’ by clamping down on people making non-essential journeys on public transport.

Current restrictions mean people should only be travelling for essential reasons and proactive customer-facing operations are continuing to take place to keep passengers safe and ensure people are complying with current guidelines.

As a result of a recent operation at one of the city’s transport hubs, 15 people were refused travel, including one person who was planning to make a non-essential trip to Birmingham. The partnership also handed out 500 face coverings to passengers and you can read more here.

Tyne & Wear Metro

A new smartphone app has been launched to keep the community up to date with the £70m project to rebuild the Tyne and Wear Metro Depot.

VolkerFitzpatrick, the contractor appointed by Stadler to build the new depot at Gosforth in Newcastle, has developed the app to give those living and working around the site a better understanding of the works.

Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, said the app would be a great way to keep the public up to speed with progress at the touch of a button and you can read the full story here.

Docklands Light Railway

Buckingham Group Contracting has secured a major package of work as part of the £100m extension of the Docklands Light Railway Beckton Depot.

Maintenance and stabling facilities are being extended to handle a new fleet of DLR trains.

The works are being split into several contracts and Buckingham has been confirmed as the contractor to deliver the Northern Siding package, worth £35m.

Works involve building a new carriage wash, extension and modification to existing track, and the creation and modification of new stabling sidings and you can read all about it here.

Proposed new systems

Plans to connect Kent and Essex via tram could be the “secret ingredient” to get a multi-billion pound theme park on the right track with residents, according to local media reports.

Government planners will decide whether the London Resort – planned for the Swanscombe Peninsula between Gravesend and Dartford should be given the green light and you can read more about the 2.5bn scheme at Kentonline.


Black Country Living Museum, home to three historic trams that transport visitors from the entrance in a re-created factory, has announced the start of major capital development.

Twenty-two historic buildings and structures will be constructed on the Museum site in phase one BCLM: Forging Ahead, making it BCLM’s largest single development project since opening in 1978.

The project represents a £30m investment in the local community, made possible with support from funders including the Department of Culture Media and Sport’s Capital Kickstart Fund via the Culture Recovery Fund, National Lottery Heritage Fund, and Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership.

The full story can be found here.


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