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Light rail news roundup 12th March 2021 Friday March 12, 2021

In light rail news this week – over 5000 ‘World Cup’ votes cast so far, 5G-connected tram in the West Midlands, full timetable resumes on NET, full size replica cab for training in Tyne & Wear, Seaton to reopen in April and Rail Director interview for LRSSB Chief Executive about future plans. 

The latest issue of the UKTram newsletter is now available to view online, containing a wealth of information on topics ranging from low rail adhesion research to trials of the latest wearable biometric technology.

In his introduction, Managing Director James Hammett also assesses the impact of Brexit on the sector and welcomes the clarity provided by the government’s roadmap out of lockdown. There’s also a roundup of recent meetings held by UKTram working Groups.

To see the newsletter in full, please click here.

World Cup proves a winner

With more than 5,000 votes cast so far, the World Cup of Trams is proving a winner with enthusiasts and customers.

Voting in Round Four, to find the nation’s favourite tram, got underway today (Friday, March 12) with the Stourbridge Shuttle, Blackpool’s Western Train, Metrolink’s Spirit of Manchester and Edinburgh’s Scottish Rugby Union tram among the contenders.

The Twitter ballot closes in this last round of the group stages at 8pm on Sunday ahead of the quarter finals next week and you can find out more, and cast your vote, @worldcupoftrams.

In other light rail news

West Midlands Metro

The first 5G-connected tram has entered service as part of a regional transport trial.

Developed as part of partnership involving West Midlands 5G (WM5G), West Midlands Metro, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), GoMedia and Icomera the project is set to offer a host of benefits to the operator and its customers.

As well as enabling high-definition CCTV footage to be viewed in real time

at the Regional Traffic Control Centre, on-board connectivity also allows passengers to enjoy live travel updates and the ability to stream on-board entertainment.

You can read the full story here.


With pupils returning to school this week, Nottingham’s tram network has returned to its normal service frequency. Trams are now running from every seven minutes and you can read more here.

Blackpool Transport
Trams are now running between Fisherman’s walk and Starr Gate as progress continues on current engineering works.
Blackpool Transport’s Service 1 bus can be used by customers as an alternative for journeys between Starr Gate and Fleetwood Ferry and further updates can be found here.

Tyne & Wear Metro

Metro drivers are getting to step on-board a full-size replica of new trains that are due to start arriving next year.

A detailed mock-up of the new Metro cab, which is fully fitted out, has been built to assist with workforce familiarisation – a key part of the design process for the new £362m Metro fleet.

The new Metro trains, which are being made by the Swiss train builder Stadler, are set to enter passenger service in 2023, delivering a step-change in quality and reliability for passengers.

The mock-up boasts the full cab layout, a driver’s seat, a dashboard, and the exterior has the iconic yellow livery and destination displays. Click here for the full story.


Seaton Tramway is planning to resume tram services from 10am on April 12, with trams running every 30 minutes until 5pm.

Visitors can journey back in time to a golden age of travel and enjoy the panoramic delights of the Axe Valley as the tramway continues to celebrate its 50th anniversary year.

The tramway hopes to start introducing new offers to visitors and the 2021 season will see the opening of two new halts across the 3-mile line, with Riverside Halt and Wetlands Halt are expected to open before the summer. The full story can be found here.


Chief Executive, Carl Williams, has outlined the organisation’s plans for the future and its successes to date in a wide-ranging interview for a leading transport sector magazine.

In the latest edition of Rail Director, he reflects on the challenge of taking up his role during the coronavirus pandemic but says the organisation has moved quickly since its formation to bring together a team of industry experts and safety professionals.

Now Mr Williams says he’s relishing the task of taking the LRSSB to the next level, and you can read the interview in full here.

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