In this week’s news from the light rail sector – Superheroes in Tyne & Wear, family fun in Edinburgh, new park and ride spaces for Manchester Metrolink and real ale tours in Blackpool.
Volunteers from tram networks across the country have joined a pioneering project that’s using biometric monitoring technology to further boost light rail safety.
The result of a partnership driven by UKTram and operator Edinburgh Trams, FOCUS+ aims to monitor the fatigue levels of key employees.
Utilising compact, wearable devices, it can also alert operators to other wellbeing issues that may impact on safety and is now undergoing extensive nationwide testing.
Initial trials in Edinburgh have provided a wealth of useful data, demonstrating the potential of FOCUS+ to further improve light rail safety and you can read the full story here.
In other light rail news, systems from around the UK are continuing to rebuild patronage following the coronavirus pandemic, but fresh challenges are now emerging, say sector leaders.
Members of the UKTram Owners and Authorities Group have reported that rising energy costs are emerging as a key concern despite more positive news in relation to patronage, as reported here.
Elsewhere across the sector:
The Metrolink Park & Ride facility at the Radcliffe stop has reopened following the completion of construction works that’s added 111 extra spaces.
The work has seen the installation of a new parking deck at the existing site, expanding the number of spaces from 369 to 480 in total, enabling more people to access the Metrolink network and use public transport for part of their journey.
Delivered earlier than the estimated completion date, the work at Radcliffe – which also features a new electric vehicle (EV) charging point – marks the completion of the broader Metrolink Park & Ride expansion works programme and you can read more here.
A trip to Edinburgh now offers even greater value for money for families thanks to a new tram ticket offer.
The operator has added a new family option to its wide range of multi-day ticket deals, offering unlimited travel between Ingliston Park & Ride and St Andrew Square, as well as one return journey from Edinburgh Airport to any stop on the tram route.
They offer a significant discount for one or two adults, plus up to three under 16s, who are travelling together and further information about the offer can be found here.
Tyne & Wear Metro
A specially stylised comic book is being produced to celebrate the work of frontline staff on the Tyne and Wear Metro.
Local artist Mike Duckett is drawing the 40-page comic in homage to the ‘everyday superheroes’ who undertake customer service and revenue protection roles on Metro.
He will tell the stories of Metro’s frontline employees as they look after customers, challenge ticketless travel and provide a reassuring presence on stations and trains – all through the medium of comic book art.
Mike is taking inspiration from a range of comics, including the iconic pages of DC and Marvel and the full story can be found here.
The new Real Ale Tour gives visitors to Blackpool the opportunity to enjoy local craft ale in the most unique, memorable setting… on board an iconic tram!
Running on selected Saturdays from June 11, the tour will depart from North Pier and then go to Little Bispham then Pleasure Beach and then back to North Pier.
During the tour guests will get to enjoy two bottles of local craft ale whilst taking in the scenic views of Blackpool’s coastline.
As reported here, Blackpool Heritage Tram tours have partnered with West Coast Rock Brewery, the only brewery pub of its kind set in the heart of Blackpool town.
Meanwhile Seaton tramway is putting its monthly Memory Tram, which offers people with dementia, and their carers, the chance to enjoy a tram ride to Colyton.
During Dementia Awareness Week it has also aims to raise awareness of the disease. Recent research, conducted with over 1000 people affected by dementia, shows that the misconception that symptoms like memory loss are a sign of normal ageing is the biggest barrier to people seeking a dementia diagnosis and you can read more here.
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