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Light Rail News Roundup 10th December 2021 Thursday December 9, 2021

In this week’s light rail news – reindeer named trams in Edinburgh, bargain return ticket in Blackpool, first bodyshell unveiled for Tyne & Wear’s new fleet, two years since the start of works on Trams to Newhaven extension and impact of rail breaks shapes new LRSSB guidance.

HR professionals from across the light rail sector have reported that recruitment remains a challenge in a highly competitive employment environment.

Members of the UKTram HR working group say that there continues to be a shortage in candidates for engineering and customer facing roles, although they are doing well when it comes to attracting new drivers.

The latest meeting of the group also discussed plans for a new benchmarking project and, from the new year, UKTram will collate annual datasets from each operator to set a UK light rail benchmark.

The KPIs it will cover include staff turnover, sickness absence levels, workplace diversity plus any remaining Covid related stats such as absence and periods of self-isolation and you can read more here.

In other light rail news:

Edinburgh Trams

Over the festive season, anyone using the tram can head to Edinburgh’s famous seasonal attractions aboard Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, or Blitzen following the naming some of the city’s tram fleet after the unsung heroes of Christmas.

The named trams, complete with antlers, can be found running from Edinburgh Airport to the City centre from every seven minutes.

Santa’s favourite reindeer Rudolph can be found at Edinburgh Airport shinning his bright red nose to help those coming from afar to get into the Christmas spirit, as reported here.

Blackpool Transport

Whether they plan to glide across the promenade’s free ice, wander through the Christmas market or enjoying a few glasses of mulled wine, tram customers can enjoy adult return journeys to and from Blackpool town centre for just £2.50!

Festive promotion tickets are available for travel from any location to and from the town centre using Blackpool Transport’s buses and trams. You can read the full story here.

Manchester Metrolink

For visitors to Manchester looking for a little inspiration – as well as an easy and convenient way to get around – Metrolink has launched a new website.

Open for Christmas, aims to provide people with loads of ideas for fun-packed days, exciting nights out and festive events.

They can use it to find festive destination, inspiration and fun for all the family, whether it’s a night out at Lightopia in Heaton Park or a food tour from Altrincham food market to secret hideouts in the Northern Quarter.

Once they’ve chosen a destination, the best travel journey for you will be generated including advice on the nearest tram stop and you can find out more here.

Tyne & Wear Metro

Stadler has unveiled the first bodyshell for the Tyne and Wear Metro’s new £362m train fleet, marking a significant milestone in the ongoing manufacturing process.

The new Metro trains are currently being built at Stadler’s factory in Switzerland and the completion of the first bodyshell paves the way for the seats and other internal features to be installed.

It gives Metro customers a first proper look at the new Metro trains on the assembly line, including the iconic yellow colour scheme, and you can read the full story here.

Extension Projects

As the Trams to Newhaven project marks the two-year point and remains on track for opening for revenue service in Spring 2023, Edinburgh Trams is taking a look back over the progress made so far.

Enabling works for the project began on Constitution Street in November 2019 and despite challenges posed by the Covid pandemic, including a 13-week site shutdown in line with Scottish Government restrictions, the project remains on target for completion in spring 2023 and within the £207.3m budget.

Drone footage of the three-mile route between Picardy Place and Newhaven has been commissioned, revealing the changing streetscape, including the development of improved public spaces and pavement space, new protected cycle lanes and tracks in the ground and you can read all about the project here.


Extensive research into reducing the frequency and impact of breaks in embedded rail is set to shape new guidance from the Light Rail Safety and Standards Board.

Multiple instances of breaks in embedded rail on UK networks has led to the research into the causes and the new guidance aims to reduce them by sharing best practice. The full story can be found here.

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