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Light Rail news roundup 17th February 2023 Friday February 17, 2023

In this week’s news from the light rail sector – Motorists in Manchester urged to be ‘tram aware’, free travel for firefighters in Edinburgh, new trains for Docklands and poetry on Tyne & Wear Metro.


The Institute of Engineering and Technology’s impressive conference facilities in the heart of Birmingham are set to host a major light rail event in September.

IET: Austin Court has been named as the venue for this year’s Light Rail Summit, staged by UKTram, and professionals from across the sector are being invited to take part in the high-profile event.

With state-of-the-art facilities within a charming and historic listed building, Austin Court looks set to provide a perfect setting for top level discussions on the challenges and opportunities faced by the light rail sector. You can find more details about the event here.

In other light rail news:

Manchester Metrolink

Transport for Greater Manchester is urging motorists to “be tram aware” when driving near the Metrolink by releasing footage of recent road traffic collisions on the network.

Between April and December 2022 there were 91 car collisions with trams, with most incidents caused by driver error on the motorist’s side.

The footage of each of the three collisions released by TfGM today shows drivers of cars and heavy goods vehicles pulling ahead of oncoming trams before the tram driver can react. You can find links to the footage, and the full story, here.

Edinburgh Trams

Fire and Rescue Service personnel are being offered free tram travel to help them pay their respects to a fellow firefighter.

Barry Martin was critically injured during a blaze at the historic Jenners building last month and passed away in hospital a few days later.

As the public gathers on the Royal Mile to say farewell to the brave firefighter at St Giles Cathedral today (February 17), serving members of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are being offered free tram travel to and from the memorial service if they are wearing their uniform or show their staff ID. Click here to read more.

Docklands Light Railway

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and London’s transport commissioner, Mr Andy Lord, have visited the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) depot at Beckton to view the first of 54 new automated trains for Britain’s busiest light rail network.

As reported in the International Rail Journal here, transport for London (TfL) awarded CAF a contract to supply the new five-car trains in June 2019, with the first 33 trains intended to replace the DLR’s older rolling stock which is now more than 30 years old.

The remainder will be required to boost the capacity, frequency and reliability of the network and you can read more here.

Tyne & Wear Metro 


The winning poems from Nexus’ National Poetry Day competition are now on display at a busy Metro station.

In October Nexus invited poets young and old to submit poems on the theme of ‘Home’ and 182 entries were received. Four entries – one winner and three runners up – are now on display in large poster sites at Longbenton Metro Station, which is used by more than one million customers every year.

The poems were judged by representatives from Nexus, plus two local poets, Anna Woodford and John Challis and you can read the full story here.

Extension Projects 

The demolition of a Birmingham City Centre building to make way for a new Metro route has moved a step closer to completion with works now underway to remove the external structure.

The Kings Parade site in Dale End was home to a popular McDonalds fast food restaurant before it closed in 2021 and has since been empty.

It is being removed to allow trams to travel from Bull Street to Digbeth High Street as part of the Birmingham Eastside Metro extension and you can read more here.


Whilst the big transport events for 2023 will come later in the year, helping to celebrate 130 years of the Manx Electric Railway and 150 years of the Isle of Man Steam Railway, the year starts with a small selection of activities over the Easter Weekend.

Whilst not of the same level as seen in recent years, there will still be the chance to see behind the scenes and to get behind the handles on the MER.

The Manx Electric Railway, Douglas Bay Horse Tramway and Isle of Man Steam Railway will all be taking part in the Easter events and further details can be found here.


As climate change continues to make extreme weather events more frequent and intense, new guidance has been published to help light rail operators respond to severe conditions.

Published by the Light Rail Safety and Standards Board, the guidance has been developed in partnership with members of an Operators’ working group led by the sector’s representative organisation, UKTram.

It highlights the impact of severe weather on tramway operations, and how pre-planning can help mitigate against extreme hot and cold temperatures as well high rainfall or drought, fog, lightning, high winds or snow. For the full story, click here.

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