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Light Rail News Roundup 23rd December 2021 Thursday December 23, 2021

In the final round up of light rail news for 2021 – Festive jumpers for charity in Edinburgh, NET tram named after celebrated professor, Mayor joins Metrolink Travelsafe operation, iconic station cubes get festive makeover in Tyne & Wear and Luas reminds customers they can text to report anti-social behaviour.  

A highly experience light rail professional has been elected as the new chair of an influential sector working group.

Steve Mabey, of Manchester Metrolink, follows in the footsteps of his father Mike, who retired in October, as chair of the UKTram Operations Group.

Having been with Metrolink for 10 years, Steve has spent the last four as Head of Network Operations and said he was delighted to have been elected to chair an extremely important group focused on the challenges of Light Rail Operations.

The latest meeting of the group also discussed a wide-range of challenges currently facing operators and you can read more here.

Also this week, news of an event designed to encourage honest and open discussion around the day-to-day challenges of running a modern light rail system.

Mainspring’s LRT Excellence Days – held in partnership with UKTram – are founded on the requirements of engineers, operators and maintainers.

The first one-day workshops will be held in February and more details can be found here. 

In other light rail news:

Edinburgh Trams

Edinburgh Trams’ employees wore festive jumpers to raise funds towards helping children get the food, healthcare, and education they need.

From Drivers and Ticket Inspectors to office-based staff, the company is committed to supporting youngsters who find themselves in life-threatening situations.

The activity is run and organised by charity Save the Children which encourages everyone to donate £2 whilst putting on their jazziest Christmas jumpers, and the full story can be found here.


NET has named one of Nottingham’s trams in honour of Sir Martyn Poliakoff – a celebrated professor at the University of Nottingham, a global leader in science, and a familiar face to millions worldwide through his hit YouTube science videos.

The Martyn Poliakoff tram was unveiled on his 74th birthday in a special ceremony at NET’s Wilkinson Street depot where Sir Martyn, his wife and guests gathered to see the tram for the first time.

The naming is in recognition of Professor Poliakoff’s considerable achievements through more than 40 years at the University of Nottingham and the full story can be found here.

Manchester Metrolink

Visit by Andy Burnham, Manchester Mayor to the TfGM TravelSafe Special Operation, Victoria Station, Manchester- Transport for Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester’s Mayor Andy Burnham has visited officers during a special TravelSafe Partnership (TSP) operation to see how they are helping to keep people safe on the network.

At Manchester’s Victoria Station, the Mayor saw first-hand how specialist resources such as drones and dog units are deployed to crack down on antisocial behaviour and crime.

Metrolink staff and officers from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and British Transport Police (BTP) were also deployed to the station recently to reassure the travelling public and deter antisocial behaviour. To read more, click here.

Tyne & Wear Metro

The network’s iconic station cubes have had a festive makeover as part of the countdown to Christmas.

The familiar yellow and black cubes in the centres of Sunderland and Newcastle – a unique part of everyday life in North East England – have been given an added touch of Christmas sparkle.

The station cubes, at Monument Metro station in Newcastle and Park Lane Interchange in Sunderland, have had festive designs added to them by Metro’s operator, Nexus, to bring some festive cheer to customers, as reported here.


The operator is reminding customers of its Security Text number, 51444, and urging them to save it in their phone so they have it to hand if the encounter intimidating or anti-social behaviour on the network.

The personal safety of customers is always a priority for the operator, and Luas staff work on an ongoing basis in conjunction with the Gardaí to keep them safe.

Sometimes, when they witness anti-social behaviour, customers may not want to draw attention to themselves by making a phone call or by pressing one of the Emergency Help Intercoms, located next to the doors on trams and beside Ticket Machines on platforms.

For this reason, the Security Text Service allows them to discreetly report incidents of anti-social behaviour in real time. The full story can be found here.

Extension Projects

Works to uncover and upgrade utility services near to Merry Hill are set to get underway in the new year in preparation for the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro route.

Preliminary works, which form part of the biggest light rail project underway in the UK, will take place along The Embankment in Brierley Hill early next year ahead of main construction commencing in the spring.

The Midland Metro Alliance (MMA), working on behalf of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), will be carrying out the essential activity in three phases, with the first set to commence on Monday, January 17. To read more, click here.

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