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Light rail news roundup 4th June 2021

In light rail news this week – full timetable is restored in Edinburgh, track maintenance continues in Sheffield and on Luas, film celebrates art history on Tyne & Wear Metro, construction about to begin on Birmingham Eastside extension, Seaton planning for Polar Express and new driver inattention guidance issued by LRSSB. 

With further lifting of Covid restrictions expected in the next few weeks, communications and customer service professionals from across the sector are discussing plans for their first ‘hybrid’ meeting.

Throughout the pandemic, members of UKTram working groups have continued their valuable work through ‘virtual’ meetings but now proposals are being considered for the first ‘face-to-face’ catch up that also provide opportunities for others to join online if they prefer.

The Marketing, Communications and Customer Services Group is hoping to be the first to trail the new way of working at its July meeting (a date and venue is yest to be confirmed) and anyone interested in taking part should contact Jamie Swift, UKTram Marketing and Commercial Manager by emailing jamie.swift@uktram.org.

In other light rail news:

Edinburgh Trams

For the first time in almost 16 months, trams in the city are to resume normal timetable.

From Monday (7th June), services will operate from every seven minutes throughout the day and additional services will not only help meet demand, but allow customers to easily practice safe physical distancing.

What’s more, Ticket Inspectors are back, so the public are being encouraged to ensure they have purchased a ticket, validated their smartcard or activated their mticket before boarding, otherwise the £10 on-board fare will apply.

You can find the full story here.

Sheffield Supertram

Due to essential track maintenance works in the Gleadless, Herdings and Birley Lane areas, a revised service will be in operation on the Purple and Blue routes next week.

The work is set to take place between Monday, June 7, and Thursday, June 10, when PURPLE route trams will stop operating earlier than normal.

On the BLUE route, the last service from Malin Bridge to Halfway will run at 20:43 (20:59 from Cathedral) and from Halfway to City/Malin Bridge at 21:46. Later services will only operate between Malin Bridge and Sheffield Station. Yellow and Tram Train routes are not affected and will operate as advertised and you can read more here.

Tyne & Wear Metro

A new film has been produced to celebrate the proud history of public art on the Tyne and Wear Metro.

Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, commissioned the 18-minute feature to give people a virtual tour of some of the most iconic exhibits on the network.

The film, which was premiered at the opening of the Jesmond Community Festival via a Zoom call on May 27, is the first in a series that will delve into the Nexus Art on Transport Programme.  It forms part of the events which are being held to mark the Metro’s 40th anniversary year and you can read the full story here.

Luas

Essential engineering works are taking place on the Luas Green Line this weekend to replace sections of the Southbound Luas tracks at Charlemont Stop.

To facilitate these works, Luas Stops between St. Stephen’s Green and Beechwood will be closed over Ireland’s June Bank Holiday weekend and you can find out more here.

Extension Projects

Construction will get underway for the Birmingham Eastside Metro extension when spades hit the ground on Lower Bull Street to make way for a new tramway junction in the city centre next month.

The Midland Metro Alliance, working on behalf of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), will begin preparatory work to lay new track along Lower Bull Street from this Sunday (June 6) bringing the much-anticipated route closer to fruition.

This next phase of works, which will begin with the completion of the remaining utility upgrades and diversions, will mean that Lower Bull Street will close to all vehicular traffic during construction. Pedestrian and business access will be maintained at all times while buses serving Lower Bull Street will be diverted to additional stops nearby. To find out more, click here. 

Heritage

Seaton Tramway has announced the return of The Polar Express™ Tram Ride on selected dates through November and December.

Families can take a once in a lifetime trip on a magical tram ride to Santa’s home at the North Pole in one of the specially decorated single deck tramcars. Passengers are encouraged to travel in their favourite pyjamas whilst they enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, a delicious treat and admire the awesome lights of the North Pole.

At the North Pole they’ll meet the elves in their workshop and receive ‘the first gift of Christmas’ from Santa himself. On the return journey, customers can enjoy singing along to Christmas carols and you can read all about the planned festive fun here.

LRSSB

An award-winning study of technology designed to detect signs of driver inattention has been highlighted in new safety guidance for light rail networks.

Published by the Light Rail Safety and Standards Board, the guidance draws on extensive trials of systems currently available to tram operators.

The document builds on a large body of research carried out on behalf of the LRSBB and offers a clear guide to the types of driver inattention and potential causes, including illness, fatigue and distractions.

Crucially, it provides a thorough analysis of systems operators can put in place to mitigate against these risks, enabling them to make a fully informed decision when choosing the most appropriate solution for their network and you can read more here.

To be included in the next round-up, or the Members News section of the website, send your press releases to jamie.swift@uktram.org.

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