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Light Rail news roundup 24th March 2023 Friday March 24, 2023

In this week’s news from the light rail sector – Tram named after first woman to lead the UK’s largest local authority, history made in Edinburgh as Trams to Newhaven project nears completion, recognition for Tyne and Wear Metro workers and an enhanced accident and incident reporting system has been welcomed by light rail leaders.


New financing models for future light rail projects in Europe have been highlighted during a successful international event this week.

UKTram Managing Director, James Hammett was among the delegates at the European Light Rail Congress in Tenerife which also included a fascinating update on the recently expanded Helsinki Metro in Finland and you can read more here.

In other light rail news:

West Midlands Metro

A West Midlands Metro tram has been named after the late Theresa Stewart, the first and, so far, only woman to lead the UK’s largest local authority.

It is the second time a tram on the Birmingham to Wolverhampton line has been named in her honour – the earlier model was retired from service in 2015 when the fleet was renewed and has since been scrapped.

During a long and distinguished career in local politics Theresa Stewart led Birmingham City Council from 1993 to 1999 and was also the Lord Mayor of Birmingham for the year 2000-2001. She died in 2020 and you can read the full story here.

Edinburgh Trams

History was made last week when the first tram in over 65 years ran down Leith Walk, as the Trams to Newhaven project nears completion.

Ahead of the route opening for service in spring 2023, a period of testing and commissioning is required to ensure the newly constructed line, software and signals work effectively and safely.

On Monday, the first stage of testing began, which involves trams travelling at a walking pace along small sections of the route, starting at Picardy Place, and you can read more here.

Manchester Metrolink

Greater Manchester residents already enjoying the benefits of leaving their cars at home say that getting on board with public transport and active travel is providing a “lifeline” in their daily lives and helping them to save money and travel more sustainably.

Amid growing concerns about the cost-of-living crisis and the impact of car journeys on the environment, thousands of people every day across the region are already taking advantage of lower bus fares, Metrolink’s flexible travel options or the city-region’s expanding active travel network and more details can be found here.

Tyne & Wear Metro 

Key workers at Nexus have been awarded the freedom of South Tyneside for their efforts keeping public transport networks running during the Covid-19 pandemic.

South Tyneside Council bestowed the award on all Nexus frontline teams at a civic ceremony and the award was collected on behalf of the workers by Shields Ferry Skipper Nathan Williamson and Customer Service Advisor Lisa Robertson.

As reported here, they joined representatives from the NHS, care sector, schools, and emergency services at a ceremony that was hosted by the Mayor and Leader of South Tyneside Council.

Extension Projects 

The latest milestone on the West Midlands Metro expansion project saw a total of 200m3 of sustainably-mixed concrete poured for the delta junction, which will allow trams to travel in six different directions between Digbeth, Edgbaston and the Black Country.

The Midland Metro Alliance, working on behalf of Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), is continuing to make significant progress on the eagerly-anticipated scheme and the recent progress comes just two months after the first pieces of track were installed.

The ongoing track works are set to be completed in the summer allowing buses that were diverted when construction got underway in 2021 to return to serving Lower Bull Street and further details can be found here.


An enhanced accident and incident reporting system has been welcomed by light rail leaders and is now ready to deliver a major boost for tramway safety.

At a pre-launch event in Birmingham this week, senior executives from all UK networks heard the Tram Accident and Incident Reporting system (TAIR) had reached another vital milestone.

Following months of intensive work, the Light Rail Safety and Standards Board is now ready to roll out an upgraded system designed to be even more effective and easier to use. 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