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Light rail news roundup 7th May 2021 Friday May 7, 2021

In light rail news this week – Edinburgh backs ‘Service With Respect’ campaign, video released by Stourbridge Shuttle, knitted birthday tribute to Tyne & Wear Metro and Seaton are winners at the HRA Awards.

Most UK light rail systems have now returned to a full operational timetable and all have reported increases in patronage following the easing of coronavirus restrictions, senior figures from across the sector have reported.

During the latest meeting of the UKTram Operations Group, representative from networks across the country heard that although customer numbers remain well below what they would normally be, there are some signs of recovery.

Compliance with remaining Covid-19 precautions – including the wearing of face coverings – also remains high, however, some light rail operators continue to report problems with anti-social behaviour.

For a full report on the meeting, click here.

In other light rail news:

Edinburgh Trams

As its Ticket Inspectors return to duty, Edinburgh Trams is backing the ‘Service with Respect’ campaign from The Institute of Customer Service.

The Institute’s research reveals more than half of customer-facing staff have experienced abuse from customers since the start of the pandemic – ranging from verbal abuse such as shouting and abusive language to, in the most extreme cases, physical assaults.

The operator says safety is its number one priority. This includes the safety of its Drivers and Ticket Inspectors who play a key part in deterring anti-social behaviour. It believes all colleagues should be able to carry out their duties without fear of acts of violence and aggression and you can read the full story here.

Blackpool Transport

To support the seaside town’s recovery post-pandemic, the operator is helping to highlight Blackpool’s many attractions as they reopen to visitors.

To check out the latest information, and for some great ideas on things to do and places to visit, with links to relevant Covid-19 advice and restrictions, take a look at the Blackpool Transport website here.

PreMetro Operations

A new video has been released by the operator of the Stourbridge Shuttle to highlight work to upgrade Britain’s shortest branch line.

As the UK’s only currently operating Very Light Rail (VLR) system, the Shuttle presents itself as a low-cost, eco-friendly alternative to standard rail operations and over recent months it’s seen some big changes.

The whole Branch Line is benefiting from major modernisation works, overseen by Network Rail. With new railway, new sleepers, and new ballast, the entire track was significantly upgraded to ensure service can run effectively, frequently, and smoothly and you can read the full story, or watch the video, here.

Sheffield Supertram

Essential track maintenance work will take place on the system this weekend.

From 22:00 on Saturday 8 until 10:00 on Sunday tram services will be suspended, with a dedicated replacement bus service in operation. Further details can be found here.

Tyne & Wear Metro

A community group has joined forces in lockdown to knit a special birthday tribute to the Tyne and Wear Metro.

The knitters, from North Tyneside, took up their needles and wool to create a colourful 12ft Metro carriage, piece by piece – celebrating the network’s 40th anniversary.

More than 30 volunteers worked on each individual piece, before it was carefully sewn together by local artist Kelly Sheridan and you can read the full story here.

Seaton Tramway is celebrating after winning a brand-new category at the 2021 Heritage Railway Association (HRA) awards.

The team at Seaton were named winner in the Most Innovative Fundraising Idea for its Tramathon Live Appeal.

They were up against Talyllyn Railway, Mid-Hants Railway & Bahamas Locomotive Society and Bluebell Railway in the hotly contested category at the awards held online last week and you can read more here.

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