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Light rail news roundup 9th July 2021 Friday July 9, 2021

In our round up of light rail news this week – ‘Green machine’ tram in Sheffield, more park & ride spaces on Metrolink, interior designs for new Tyne & Wear Metro fleet are revealed, customer service recruitment on DLR and Seaton to organise annual heritage festival.   

The easing of some coronavirus restrictions has presented fresh challenges for light rail operators, the latest meeting of a UKTram working group has heard.

While networks have reported a gradual increase in patronage, operators have seen shifts in the time of peak demand. Meanwhile, an increase in road traffic as more people return to work and leisure activities has resulted in more disruption due to congestion and associated incidents and delays.

Ahead of this week’s announcement of the lifting of remaining restrictions, a recent meeting of the UKTram Operations Group also heard that, in some areas, compliance with rules on the wearing of face coverings has declined slightly, and you can read more here.

Save the date

A vision for the future of trams and other metro systems in the UK is to be put under the spotlight in September as part of a high-profile Light Rail Summit in Edinburgh.

Organised jointly by UKTram and the Light Rail Safety and Standards Board, the event will feature a day of top-level debate and presentations from leading sector figures on September 23, followed by an evening networking event.

The following day, delegates have the option of a tour of Edinburgh’s current Trams to Newhaven extension works and you can read more about the summit here.

In other light rail news: 

Sheffield Supertram

A new look tram has hit the tracks in South Yorkshire, reminding customers why Supertram is a climate-conscious choice for their journey.

The new-look livery showcases the tram’s green credentials, including 0 per cent carbon emissions and the use of energy from renewable sources.

The ‘green machine’ (tram 112) – designed by Supertram, Travel South Yorkshire and Kudos Creative – is running on the network now and you can read the full story here.

Manchester Metrolink

Work has started on a new temporary Park and Ride facility as part of plans to increase the number of parking spaces at both the Radcliffe and Whitefield Metrolink stops.

The temporary facility at Radcliffe, which will be situated close to Spring Lane School and have enough spaces for 250 cars, is due to be fully operational by mid-Autumn.

Once complete, the temporary Park and Ride will remain open until all works to install an extra parking deck at the existing Metrolink Park and Ride sites in both Radcliffe and Whitefield are finished.

The project will see the number of spaces at Radcliffe and Whitefield increased by 111 to 480 and 123 to 331 respectively and you can read more here.

Pre Metro

The operators of the Stourbridge Shuttle will be at the Hilton Hotel in Newcastle Gateshead next week for the Light Rail Conference, presenting their operational expertise to colleagues from across the sector.

As the only Very Light Rail operators in the UK, they will present their unique insight and statistics at Stand G, with Executive Director Steve Jasper also taking part in the debate on the cost-efficiency of Light Rail.

At up to 50% cheaper than traditional rail services, VLR could be the cheapest and greenest solution to many obstacles currently affecting the public transport industry – particularly if introduced as short feeder routes connecting the railway network.

Click here to read more.

Tyne & Wear Metro

The final interior design of the North East’s new Metro fleet has been revealed following one of the most far-reaching public consultations the global rail industry has seen.

Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, has finalised the design options after an unprecedented 23,000 responses from customers, employees and specialist user groups.

The consultation was delivered using interactive online platforms and augmented virtual reality workshops and you can find the full story here. 

Docklands Light Railway

The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) is hiring for a customer service role with a salary of £42,000.

KeolisAmey DLR, the company which operates the DLR on behalf of Transport for London (TfL), is looking for Passenger Service Agents who would be based at Poplar, the hub of East London’s driverless, automated light railway network.

Passenger Service Agents (PSAs) are the attendants who operate the driverless DLR trains and you can read the full story here.

Extension Projects

The West Midlands Metro line in Birmingham City Centre is to receive essential upgrades and maintenance alongside ongoing activity to extend the tramway to both Digbeth and Edgbaston with track replacement along Corporation Street to begin late July.

Earlier this month, construction for the game-changing Birmingham Eastside Metro extension, which will make the most out of HS2 and assist the regeneration of Digbeth, got underway with the closure of Lower Bull Street to public transportation.

For the duration of the planned maintenance works along Corporation Street, beginning 25th July and expected to wrap-up in October, tram services will continue to serve Birmingham city centre at a temporary terminus at Bull Street in the Colmore Business District and more details can be found here.


Seaton Tramway has announced that it is the new organiser of the popular Natural Seaton Festival.  Celebrating the natural heritage of Seaton and East Devon, the festival usually takes place on a Saturday in mid-July and on Thury Harcourt in front of Seaton Station and Tesco.

The festival sees hundreds of locals and tourists coming to Seaton to enjoy activities, games, live entertainment and a variety of wildlife and conservation organisations. Seaton Tramway is aiming to build on the event and make it bigger and more appealing to a wider audience, starting in 2022. Due to covid, the festival has not been able to take place in 2020 and 2021.

You can read more about the festival, and Seaton’s involvement, here.


The development of a European standard for urban rail track design parameters has taken a significant step forward following a comprehensive industry consultation process.

The Light Rail Safety Standards Board (LRSSB) has supplied experts to a CEN working that is currently developing the first ever European track design standards specifically for Urban Rail including tramways.

Following two year’s work, a draft standard was recently circulated for review and you can read the full story here.

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