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Light Rail News Roundup 22nd October 2021

In this weeks light rail news – safety reminders on Metrolink, Edinburgh promotes family ticket to half-term day trippers, Halloween giveaway on Luas, Tyne & Wear gives away old Metro trains, extra depot tours in Blackpool and the ORR reviews LRSSB progress. 

Patronage continues to grow across all networks since the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, recent meetings of UKTram working groups have reported.

In some cities, particularly Edinburgh and Blackpool, the popularity in ‘staycation’ holidays helped improve customer numbers over the summer months, with a marked increase in domestic tourists.

However, members of the UKTram Communications Group say that the number of commuters is still below pre-pandemic levels. In response, operators are looking at more flexible ticketing options for customers who are returning to their offices less frequently or on a part-time basis.

These patronage trends matched reports at an earlier meeting of the UKTram Operations Group, where members also raised the issue of recruitment and retention and you can read more about the meetings here.

In other light rail news:

Manchester Metrolink

Users of public transport in Manchester are being urged to keep themselves and others safe by following some simple steps as coronavirus infection rates continue to rise.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, is reminding those using trams, trains, buses and busy transport interchanges of the importance of wearing face coverings

Ahead of the winter season, when more people traditionally succumb to cold and flu viruses, passengers can also help by keeping windows open onboard transport, maintaining ventilation, using hand gels and sanitisers or avoiding travelling when unwell. The full story can be found here.

Edinburgh Trams

Families enjoying a day out in the city this half term can take advantage of a great value tram ticket.

Priced at just £7.50, the ‘Family Day Tripper’ is just the ticket for up to two adults plus up to three kids for a days unlimited tram travel. The ticket can be used for trips from any stop between Ingliston Park & Ride site and the city centre and you can read the full story here.

Luas

To celebrate the Halloween and October Mid-Term break next week, Luas is giving away €50 digital On4All vouchers to five lucky customers.

The winners will be chosen at random from entries submitted on online before Monday, October 25 and you can find out more here.

Tyne & Wear Metro

Local communities are getting a chance to give an old Tyne and Wear Metro train a new lease of life after it’s been taken out of service to make way for the new £362m fleet.

Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, is keen to hear creative and innovative ideas about how an old train could be transformed into a vibrant public asset.

Community groups and not-for-profit organisations have been invited by Nexus to submit their plans and ideas for the iconic Metro carriages, which are set to be replaced by the state-of-the-art new trains from 2023.

As reporter here, the aim is to donate up to five Metro carriages for community use after they have been decommissioned.

Heritage

Since their return in 2021, guided depot visits at Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours have proved incredibly popular.  As a result of demand, extra tours are set to take place on the 28th and 30th October.

For the opportunity to see the ins and outs of operations, and to delve into the tramway’s rich history, click here.

In the Isle of Man, the ‘majority’ of work on Douglas promenade will be completed by the start of next month.

That’s the pledge from the Department of Infrastructure which has confirmed it’s still working to the new date of 3 November after a September deadline was missed.

However, the DoI has told Manx Radio that work will continue into November and up to four weeks is needed to complete tramway points on a 70 metre section of tramway between Broadway and Esplanade Mews.

This will reportedly be off the highway and have a ‘minimal impact’ on traffic flow and you can read more here.

LRSSB

The Light Rail Safety and Standards Board has welcomed the launch of a planned review of its work by the Office of Rail and Road.

To be carried out at the request of the LRSSB, the process aims to assess progress on the implementation of recommendations made by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch in its report on the Sandilands accident in 2016.

When the organisation was first established, it invited the ORR to carry out a review of its initial work and it was agreed that this would take place during the first two to three years of LRSSB operations.

Since Sandilands, the sector has worked tirelessly on fulfilling specific recommendations made by the RAIB, with the LRSSB has taken the lead in a number of areas, and you can read the full story 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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