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Light Rail News Roundup 12th November 2021 Friday November 12, 2021

In light rail news this week – VLR an option for new rail lines, green flash sale on NET, poppies on trams and free veterans travel in Edinburgh. Contactless payments launch on Blackpool’s trams and Prince Charles meets frontline Tyne & Wear staff.

An additional £2.2 million of emergency funding for light rail in Scotland will help operators plan ahead with renewed confidence.

Welcoming this week’s announcement of further support from the Scottish Government, UKTram also says the latest tranche of funding will continue to protect essential services from the on-going financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest emergency funding, which follows ongoing discussions with Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) and Edinburgh Trams, brings the total light rail support available to over £36 million, and this will now be in place until the end of March 2022.

To read more on UKTram’s response to the announcement, click here.

In other light rail news:

Pre Metro

The operator has recently explained how light rail technology ought to be used to provide passenger services that can be upscaled at a later date.

Highlighting the Lichfield to Walsall Branch Line reopening, the licenced Train Operating Company suggests that a Very Light Rail vehicle could be used to connect passengers from Walsall, Pelsall, or Brownhills to Lichfield and beyond. The line could also serve the nearby National Arboretum at Alrewas.

With 97.8% of locals in favour of passenger services along this route, establishing a scalable VLR service that can be converted to heavy rail when patronage and profit permits will negate most of the current budgetary concerns and long-term timescale that currently limit the project.

Written by Operations Director, Steve Jasper, the article ‘Upscaling Passenger Services: From Very Light Rail to Heavy Rail’ can be found here.


Nottingham’s tram network has been making green travel around the city even more affordable this month with a special ‘green flash sale’ that’s seen weekly tram tickets reduced by 26% to coincide with the COP26 Climate Summit.

Until the end of the month, weekly tram tickets purchased via the NETGO app are reduced from £19 to £14. The discount that will allow residents to use affordable, green transport around the city while also playing their part in the city’s efforts to tackle climate change and you can read more here.

Edinburgh Trams

Edinburgh’s Trams have once again displayed poppies in their windows to pay tribute to those Armed Forces heroes that have lost their lives in the war.

Services also stopped at 11am on both Armistice Day (Thursday, 11 November) and will again on Remembrance Sunday (14 November) to observe the two-minute silence.

Veterans and representatives of the Armed Forces showing their uniform and badges, or a recognised ID badge have been offered free tram travel for both days and the full story can be found here.

Blackpool Transport

After testing and trialling , contactless payments are now accepted on Blackpool’s trams.

When paying for their tram fare, customers only need ask the conductor for the ticket they require and ask to pay contactless. They then just hover their contactless card or contactless-enabled phone over the conductor’s new card reader.

As well as paying for single or saver tickets (except 30-day tickets) they can purchase a variety of different tickets, and you can read more here.

Manchester Metrolink

Local councillors have joined a special TravelSafe Partnership operation on Metrolink’s Bury line which aims to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour and give passengers the confidence to travel safely.

Metrolink staff engaged with 570 passengers at the Bury and Radcliffe tram stops on alongside Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officers. They were also joined by Radcliffe councillors Carol Birchmore and Mike Smith and a youth team from Bury Council.

A 27-year-old man was arrested and fined for a public order offence and 21 penalty fares were handed out to people travelling on the network without a valid ticket and the full story can be found here.

Tyne & Wear Metro

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales recently took time to meet some of the Covid heroes at Nexus who helped keep public transport moving during lockdown.

During a visit earlier this week Prince Charles met frontline staff on the Tyne and Wear Metro and from the cross-Tyne Shields Ferry who all were on duty in customer facing roles during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The heir to the throne was keen to hear just how the staff had coped in such challenging times, and he thanked them for their efforts, as reported here.

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