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Light Rail news roundup 13th January 2023 Friday January 13, 2023

In this week’s news from the light rail sector – West Midlands Metro helps customers with the cost-of-living crisis, new overhead lines to be connected in Edinburgh and Tyne & Wear Metro tackles fare evasion.

In a New Year message, James Hammett, the Managing Director of UKTram has said that the past year has seen the light rail sector rise to numerous challenges, but in 2023 colleagues can look to the future with fresh optimism.

He said members of the organisations Operations Group recently reported that patronage continued to rise across the country as more people returned to workplaces following the Covid-19 pandemic, and there are good reasons to suggest this trend will continue.

Operators are also adapting well to changing travel patterns and, at the same time, developing innovative ticketing options that offer customers increased flexibility while helping them to save money during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. To read the message in full, click here. 

In other light rail news:

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro is playing its part in supporting customers through the ongoing cost-of-living crisis by freezing fares this year.

The move follows the introduction last year of a value-for-money, zone-based ticketing system, which is already helping many to save on their travel costs.

Sophie Allison, the Metro’s Interim Managing Director, explained that, in the current economic climate the operated appreciate that many people will be struggling with rising prices and you can read the full story here.

Edinburgh Trams

There will be changes to tram services later this month with the connection of the new overhead power lines on the Trams to Newhaven project to the existing network.

To enable this essential work to be completed as quickly and safely as possible, trams from the airport will be running as far as West End stop for one week between Monday, January 23, and Sunday, January 29 (inclusive). There are no changes to the tram timetable or frequency.

Alternative arrangements have been put into place enabling visitors and local residents to complete their journey, and full details can be found here.

Manchester Metrolink

Greater Manchester’s TravelSafe Partnership (TSP) is stepping up enforcement to reassure the travelling public following a number of knife-related incidents on public transport.

While knife crime is not unique to public transport, tackling it remains a top priority for the TSP and Greater Manchester Police, with activity increasing at hotspots across the public transport network.

The public transport network is covered by CCTV which is monitored 24/7, and TravelSafe will support GMP in all investigations, including sharing footage of incidents to inform criminal proceedings. To read more click here.

Tyne & Wear Metro

The penalty for fare evasion on the Tyne and Wear Metro will increase to £100 from January 23.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has decided the penalty for rail fare evasion in England and Wales is to rise as of part a new effort to crackdown on ticketless travel across Britain’s railways and Metro is part of the Government’s national penalty fare regime, so it is included in the change.

Nexus is rolling-out a hard-hitting marketing campaign on Metro stations and trains to warn customers of the value in paying their fares and you can read more here.

Extension Projects 

The Midland Metro Alliance, which is delivering the scheme on behalf of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), recently fixed a total of 130 metres of double track into place along Lower Bull Street.

This swift progress in the project follows a successful concrete pour in December which formed the base for the track and sleepers to be installed.

The team spent more than 330 hours successfully installing the first pieces of rail for the delta junction, which will allow trams to travel in six different directions between Digbeth, Edgbaston and the Black Country. As reported here, these works are expected to continue over the coming months.

To be included in the next round-up, or the Members News section of the UKTram website, send your press releases to