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Light rail news roundup 3rd September 2021 Friday September 3, 2021

In light rail news this week – Edinburgh Trams issues travel advice as Covid cases rise in Scotland, frequencies increase in Greater Manchester, Michael Portillo takes a trip on the Metro, Stourbridge Shuttle is tops for punctuality and Polar Express returns to Seaton.

The CEO of Keolis UK, Alistair Gordon, and Jonathan Bray, Director of the Urban Transport Group, are set to share their views on the future of light rail at a high- profile summit later this month.

They will be joined by other leading figures from across the sector during the event at the Edinburgh Grosvenor Hotel on 23rd September, and their presentations will follow the unveiling of a strategy for light rail that’s been developed by summit organisers, UKTram.

Its publication follows months of consultations with sector professionals and will launch a packed agenda that also features updates on the work of Light Rail Safety Standards Board and top-level discussions on a host of other topics. 

Tickets for the summit – co-hosted by the LRSSB – are selling fast and are available now from the new UKTram ‘Shop’ at priced at just £99+VAT for UKTram and LRSSSB members, and £199+VAT for non-members.

For the full story and further details of the summit agenda, click here.

In other light rail news:

Edinburgh Trams

As covid-19 cases continue to rise around Scotland, Edinburgh Trams is committed to ensuring it does everything possible to keep colleagues and customers safe from the virus.

Following the latest government’s advice, the operator is encouraging everyone to play their part by exercising common sense and considering the risks.

As well as asking customers to continue wearing a face covering they are also urging them to use smart tickets or contactless payment whenever possible and you can read the full story here.

Manchester Metrolink

More frequent trams have been reintroduced on Metrolink’s busiest lines as part of a phased return to more frequent services on the network.

Trams are now running every six minutes on the Bury and Altrincham lines at peak times and this will be followed by the reintroduction of a six-minute service between East Didsbury and Shaw and Crompton from September 6.

Peak time services between MediaCityUK and Etihad Campus will also be reintroduced in the coming weeks, subject to staff availability.

A temporary 12-minute network-wide service was introduced on 6 August to ensure the Metrolink operator could provide a more reliable and consistent service for customers following a significant increase in coronavirus-related staff absences and the full story can be found here.

Tyne & Wear Metro

TV presenter Michael Portillo has taken a trip on the Tyne and Wear Metro and the Shields Ferry for his latest series of Great British Railway Journeys.

Portillo, who has become renowned for his railway travel programmes on the BBC, took two journeys on the Metro and a Tyne crossing on the ferry from North Shields to South Shields.

His two trips on the Metro saw him travel from Central Station in Newcastle to Tynemouth on Friday 20th August, and from South Shields back to Newcastle on Saturday 21st August and you can read more here.

Stourbridge Shuttle

The Stourbridge Shuttle remains the UK’s most reliable train operation, recording an average PPM rating of 99.84% so far this year, operator Pre Metro has announced.

It’s also beginning to see patronage figures return to normal as restrictions have been lifted, with the service carrying over 100,000 passengers since the beginning of the railway year.

Earlier in March, Pre Metro submitted several bids to the Department for Transport’s ‘Restoring Your Railway’ scheme, one of which aims to establish a passenger service between Stourbridge and Brierley Hill and you can read the full story here.


The Polar Express™ Tram Ride returning to Seaton Tramway 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 and you can read the full story here.

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