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Light rail news roundup 1st October 2021 Friday October 1, 2021

In light rail news this week – commuter discounts on West Midlands Metro, ‘Chase the Tram’ raises money for NET charity, Tangerine Ticket in Blackpool, extra decks to be installed to increase Metrolink park & ride capacity, 17th birthday for Luas Red Line and track laying milestone passed in Wolverhampton.

An innovative new system designed to speed up and simplify the process of applying for permission to work near a tramway has been launched at a major light rail event.

UKTram has joined forces with Edinburgh Trams and Derby-based software company, Metrotech, to develop and trial an innovative solution for the time-consuming yet safety-critical process.

The innovative website portal and its associated mobile app, known as PERMIT+, is now available to all light rail operators following a lengthy development process and extensive trials in Edinburgh and you can read the full story here.

The huge benefits that light rail is bringing to major UK cities has also been brought into sharp focus in a new video launched online this week.

Building Back Better – A Light Rail Strategy for the UK, presents a powerful case for future investment in a mode of transport with a proven track record of improving the look and feel of urban areas, while providing a catalyst for economy-boosting investment.

Now available to view here, after receiving its premiere at a major sector summit last week, it supports a powerful strategy document developed by UKTram that presents a bold vision to help drive the expansion of light rail.

In other light rail news:

West Midlands Metro

As more people return to work following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, West Midlands Metro is offering great savings for customers who choose to pay for their travel by direct debit.

Anyone who signs up for an Adult Metro Only Direct Debit Monthly Pass for the first time or has not had one for the last three months can enjoy an additional £5 saving for the next three months.

When paid for by direct debit, a monthly pass usually costs £72, but anyone who signs up before October 2021 only has to pay £67 for the next three months and you can read the full story here.


Runners strapped up their laces to support poorly children at Rainbows Hospice recently, raising over £800 for the charity.

Chase The Tram saw participants run alongside the route of the NET tram network from Clifton South into the city centre.

Around 30 runners took part and NET sponsored the medals, while allowing runners free tram travel up to Clifton South and you can read more here.

Blackpool Transport

Just like Blackpool’s return to the Championship, the town’s Tangerine Ticket for tram and bus travel is back!

Fans heading to the home games to Bloomfield Road can travel for just £1.50 each way and the ticket is valid for up to three hours before kick-off or up to two hours after the final whistle.

All they have to do is ask the driver or conductor for a Tangerine Ticket when they board and the full story can be found here.

Manchester Metrolink

The Metrolink car park in Whitefield has now closed as part of a scheme to increase the overall number of car parking spaces for the network’s customers in Bury.

Construction work to expand the Whitefield park and ride site, which is expected to last until early 2022, and once complete it will have an extra parking deck, expanding capacity from 208 to 331 spaces.

Radcliffe Park and Ride will close in winter 2021 and work to install a new parking deck increasing car parking capacity from 369 to 480 spaces is expected to be complete within summer 2022. To read more on the projects, click here.


Last weekend, the network celebrated the 17th anniversary of the opening of the Red Line, when it carried its first passengers between Tallaght and Connolly. Since the first Luas Red Line passenger journey, it has grown, with the first extension from Busáras to The Point opening in 2009, and the second extension from Belgard to Saggart in 2011.

To mark this occasion, Luas has giving away five €50 digital One4All vouchers and you can find out more here.

Tyne & Wear Metro

A team from operator Nexus has taken a first look at the Stadler factory in Switzerland where the Tyne and Wear Metro’s new fleet of trains are being made.

The 8,500 square metre plant in St Margrethen, built only two years ago, is one of the most state-of-the-art train manufacturing facilities in Europe.

Stadler has already started work on the new Metro fleet, with full assembly of the first new train just 12 weeks away and you can read the full story here.

Extension Projects

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, joins Midland Metro staff and partners as the final phase of the Wolverhampton Railway Station extension nears completion.

A milestone has been celebrated on the Wolverhampton City Centre Metro extension following the successful installation of the first stretch of tram tracks outside the city’s revitalised railway station.

A total of 40 metres of double track has been installed on Railway Drive as progress on the highly anticipated project continues to move forward at pace. Recent weeks have also seen the installation of the extension’s switch and crossing, an intricate section of rail that allows trams to move from one track to another. Click here for the full story.

Proposed new systems

The West Midlands Metro network will be further extended in Walsall, Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell and Wolverhampton under a wide-ranging plan to revolutionise transport across the region.

Further investment would see rail stations opened, new rapid bus services launched, lower fares, more zero-emission vehicles, a very light rail line in Coventry and miles of safe cycling routes created to support the region’s economic growth and its #wm2041 net-zero carbon targets.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) approved bids to the Government’s City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) fund and Bus Service Improvement Plan fund which, topped up with local funds, could secure investment of up to £2 billion over the next five years.

This includes £280 million towards both improvements to the existing West Midlands Metro network and for the design and detailed planning work for the next series of extensions, as explained here.

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