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Light rail news roundup 8th October 2021 Friday October 8, 2021

In Light Rail news this week – Mandip walks 100 miles to raise £1400 for cancer charity, 5 million journeys using Manchester’s contactless payment system, £100m track dualling welcomed in Tyne & Wear, chill-out carriages on the DLR and Arts Council grant for the Brierley Hill Metro extension.

UKTram and the organisation responsible for light rail safety have scooped a series of prestigious accolades at a high-profile event celebrating excellence across the sector.

Between them, the Light Rail Safety and Standards Board and UKTram were ‘Highly Commended’ in four categories at the Global Light Rail Awards, while a well-known figure associated with both organisations receiving a Judges’ Special Award.

Mike Mabey, Chair of the UKTram Operators Group and an LRSSB Board member, is standing down from both roles at the end of this month when he retires after 30 years of working in light rail and you can read the full story here.

Also this week, a pioneering project to enhance driver training standards across light rail has taken a major step forward with the launch of a sector-wide consultation.

Earlier in the year, UKTram started working with colleagues from across the sector to develop a new set of National Occupational Standards (NOS) for tram driver trainers and is now asking for feedback on its draft proposals.

You can read more about the standards, and details of how to take part in the consultation here.

In other light rail news:


Pre Metro, operator of the Stourbridge Shuttle, has recently launched their ‘Key Concept Collection’ – a series of biweekly blogs that are available to read and download for all industry members.

The UK’s Very Light Rail operational forces hope that the series can highlight the values of their business and explore key topics for the Light Rail industry.

PR and Marketing Officer, Charlie Merrell, kicked off the series with his article ‘Carbon Neutral: Why the Light Rail industry needs to set a deadline’ which can be found here.


A member of the NET team has raised more than £1,400 for a cause that’s close to her heart after completing a gruelling charity challenge days ahead of schedule.

Mandip Bahra set out to walk 100 miles during September in memory of her sister’s nephew, Rajvir Plaha, in a bid to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Midway-through the challenge, thanks to the support of family, friends and colleagues working on Nottingham’s tram network, revenue manager Mandip smashed through her initial target of £1,000, and you can read the full story here.

Also in Nottingham, contactless payment is now available on all the network’s lime green validators. Anyone wishing to purchase an adult single or day ticket can do so by tapping their debit/credit card or mobile device with apple or Google pay on a validator at the start of their journey. To read more click here.

Manchester Metrolink

Metrolink’s ‘London-style’ pay-as-you-go contactless system is proving more popular than ever, with more than 5 million journeys now having been made since its launch.

The tram network’s touch in/ touch out system allows customers to travel quickly, securely and flexibly across the network without the need to download an app or buy a paper ticket.

Initially launched in July 2019, it was further enhanced following the roll-out of the Bee Flex Weekly in September, which means customers can now travel in confidence knowing they will never pay more than a seven-day travel pass when they touch-in and out with a contactless bank card or device. To read more, click here.

Tyne & Wear Metro

Community leaders have welcomed a £100m track dualling scheme that will increase service frequency, reduce journey times, and improve reliability on the Tyne and Wear Metro.

The Metro Flow project will see an existing freight line upgraded and electrified in South Tyneside, making it capable of carrying Metro services, boosting the capacity for an extra 24,000 customer journeys every day.

Three sections of single track will be dualled between Pelaw and Bede Metro stations from September 2022 and you can read more here.

Docklands Light Railway

New ‘Chill-out’ carriages have been created on Docklands Light Railway trains to help reduce anxiety among customers as they return to work following the Covid pandemic.

Twelve trains will have a carriage dedicated to ‘mindfulness’, with the on-board area redecorated with images of mountains, forests, oceans and countryside.

‘Meditation corners’ have also been established on platforms at three main DLR stations.

The “Inner Journey” initiative from operator KeolisAmey Docklands comes ahead of World Mental Health Day on Sunday and you can read more here.

Extension Projects

The expansion of West Midlands Metro has taken an artistic turn thanks to a £96k grant from Arts Council England.

The Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension is currently under construction by the Midland Metro Alliance, which is working on behalf of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and will connect Wednesbury to Brierley Hill via Dudley town centre.

Dudley Council applied for the art fund cash to set up the ‘Art Track: Metro Art Programme’, which will see the design of art projects across the Metro track and at stops in Dudley borough.

The funding will support commissioning competitions for artists to design physical works, artistic residencies, community engagement programme and an opportunity for the public to see design proposals in an exhibition in spring 2022. You can read the full story here.

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