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Light Rail News Roundup 17th December 2021 Friday December 17, 2021

In light rail news this week – services resume on West Midlands Metro, memorial for NET tram stop cat, E-scooters banned on Tyne & Wear Metro, Stourbridge Shuttle sponsor theatre company and cycle tramway interface guidance from LRSSB.

A new initiative that could help drive innovative solutions to the UK’s future transport needs has been welcomed by light rail experts.

The latest meeting of the UKTram Centre of Excellence, which is dedicated to expanding and enhancing light rail in the UK, recently heard how the Better Value Rail toolkit will help shape future transport projects.

In a presentation, Ian Raxton, Principal Inspector of Railways at the Office of Rail and Road, explained that the joint initiative from the Department for Transport, the ORR, and Network Rail aims to help clarify the objectives of projects and narrow down the different transport modes that can deliver them.

Although primarily considering rail-based solutions, it embraces alternatives to traditional heavy rail, including tramways, metro systems and very light rail (VLR) and you can read the full story here.

In other light rail news

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro passenger services have resumed between Wolverhampton and Bull Street, with trams initially running up to every 10 minutes.

The programme of permanent repairs to West Midlands Metro’s tram fleet is progressing well and passengers can be reassured that all trams have been subject to comprehensive safety checks as part of the repair process.

A number of new trams are also in the final stages of testing and commissioning, enabling a phased return to service, and you can read more here.


A memorial has been unveiled in Nottingham for ‘Benton the tram stop cat’ – a much-loved feline frequently found at the Inham Road tram stop where he was popular among commuters, tram users and local residents.

Benton’s love for sitting at the tram stop and warmly greeting residents and tram users inspired a huge community reaction, national media interest and even his own Twitter page.

When Benton’s owner Ginny Hicks confirmed in the summer that Benton had sadly died, she received a huge number of tributes on social media and as a result, plans were put in place to create a memorial.

The full story can be found on the NET website here.

Edinburgh Trams

For anyone planning to party with the stars at the Bells, witness a spectacular torchlight procession or celebrate Hogmanay with friends or family in the city centre, Edinburgh Trams will again be offering free late-night travel.

Trams will run every 20 minutes between West End and Edinburgh Airport from midnight on December 31 until 5am on January 1. Designated drivers can also take advantage of 1,000 free spaces at the Ingliston Park & Ride site where the usual overnight parking restriction will be removed for the duration of the celebrations.

Full details of the free services can be found here.

Manchester Metrolink

With more people than ever using Metrolink since lockdown, and increasing numbers expected to visit the city-region’s town and city centres this weekend, customers are being encouraged to take extra care when travelling.

Tens of thousands of people use the tram network without incident every day, but it just takes a moment of inattention for a tragic incident to occur.

To ensure passengers’ keep themselves – and others – safe, the network is highlighting a few simple steps they can take when travelling on Metrolink.

The full story and the safety tips can be found here.

Tyne & Wear Metro

E-scooters have been banned from the Tyne and Wear Metro and Shields Ferry. The move follows incidents in the London area, which has led Transport for London to review e-scooter use and introduce a similar restriction.

There have been a number of incidents of privately-owned e-scooters and e-unicycles catching fire on public transport services and stations in London.

A review by Transport for London found that the incidents were caused by defective lithium-ion batteries which ruptured without warning, leading to fires that caused toxic smoke to be released.

For more on this story, click here.

Stourbridge Shuttle

The popular Side by Side Theatre Company has recently been surprised with sponsorship from the Stourbridge Shuttle operators, Pre Metro, just in time for Christmas.

The charity engages with residents to give people with learning disabilities the opportunity to develop independent living and life skills through the medium of performing arts.

Across the next two years, they will receive a total sum of £5000 to help with any further renovations at the SideSpace, the former St John Church, as well as assistance to enable more students to attend via the railway, and you can read more here.


Detailed guidance on how to make tramways and similar urban transit systems as safe as possible for cyclists is now available to download from the Light Rail Safety and Standards Board’s growing online reference library.

Following extensive consultations with safety experts from across the sector, LRG19.0 – Cycle Tramway Interface Guidance been published and can be downloaded here.

Much of the guidance is based on experience gained from existing UK tramways and similar networks overseas. Click here for the full story.

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