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Light Rail news roundup 1st April 2022 Friday April 1, 2022

In light rail news this week – Trams back running to St Andrew Square in Edinburgh, bodywork repairs required in the West Midlands, driver simulator tested ahead of new Tyne & Wear fleet, 70% of track now laid on Trams to Newhaven project and LRSSB welcomes findings of positive ORR review.

The impact of adverse weather conditions on tram networks, and some effective measures to mitigate against them, have been put under the spotlight during a recent meeting of UKTram’s Operations Group.

It now plans to develop a comprehensive guide to keeping services on track when snow, gales, leaf falls, flooding, low visibility or extreme temperatures threaten disruption.

Key points of the discussion at the meeting included pre-planning for weather events, special timetables, the effectiveness of weather alerts and decision-making processes within organisations when severe weather impacts on operations and the full story can be found here.

An ambitious research project aimed at boosting light rail patronage following the coronavirus pandemic has also won the backing of marketing and customer services professionals from across the sector.

Members of the organisation’s Communications Group recently heard that UKTram has set aside £10,000 to fund the project which will look at the reasons why some people have not returned following the lifting of all Covid restrictions and you can read more here.

In other light rail news:

Edinburgh Trams

Trams have returned to St Andrew Square with successful testing last week enabling the relaunch of city centre services earlier than initially planned.

Since the permanent closure of the York Place stop in February, which has enabled the connection of existing track to the new Newhaven line, services have been terminating at West End.

In recent weeks, work to take down the tram stop in York Place has progressed ahead of schedule, alongside the complex installation of track and infrastructure associated with the Trams to Newhaven project, and the full story can be found here.

West Midlands Metro

Detailed inspections of bodywork cracks have been undertaken on the Metro’s older trams and now repairs are required across the fleet.

The operator is requiring the manufacturer to replace the panels rather than repair the existing ones to ensure the future reliability and robustness of the service. It expects the service will be suspended for a number of weeks and you can read the full statement from the operator here.

Tyne & Wear Metro

A team from Nexus has put its Metro train simulator through its paces ahead of its eagerly anticipated arrival at the operator’s Learning Centre this summer.

A delegation from Metro Futures, Learning and Development and Train Crew teams ran the rule over the state-of-the-art full cab driving simulator on a special visit to the factory in France where it was built. The visit to the CORYS workshop in Grenoble, in South East France, was also attended by a team from Stadler.

As reported here, the simulator was put through a rigorous Factory Acceptance Test – and the new technology, which will transform how we train Metro drivers on the new fleet, passed with flying colours.

Extension Projects 

More than 3km of track – 70% of the total to be laid – is now in the ground as part of the Trams to Newhaven project in Edinburgh. The scheme remains on schedule to begin revenue services in spring 2023 and on target to be delivered within the £207.3m budget.

The main construction work on three of the eight new tram stops is also complete, while over 3km of drainage (66% of the total) and almost 4km of communications ducting (82% of the total) serving the tram and wider area has been installed.

You can read more on the project’s progress here.


The Light Rail Safety and Standards Board has welcomed the findings of a review into its work to date.

In a report published this week, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) says the organisation is adding value to the light rail and tramway sector and supporting continued improvements in managing safety.

When the LRSSB was first established, it invited the ORR to carry out a review of the LRSSB’s work during its first three years of operations and the regulator found that the organisation is providing guidance and tools to improve the sector’s understanding of risk.

It also made a series of recommendations, and you can read the full story here.

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