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Light Rail news roundup 14th April 2023 Friday April 14, 2023

In this week’s news from the light rail sector – Record ‘contactless’ journeys in Manchester, green grant for London tram depot, a successful operation to tackle anti-social behaviour on Tyne & Wear Metro and an update on the LRSSB’s upgraded TAIR system.


Catch up with all the recent news from UKTram and the Light Rail Safety and Standards Board in the Spring issue of OnTrack, now available to download here.

Inside you can read all about UKTram’s Interim Chair, and the appointment of a data analyst at the LRSSB as it prepares for the launch of an upgraded accident and incident reporting system.

In other light rail news:

Manchester Metrolink 

A record number of journeys using contactless were made on Metrolink last month, with passengers touching in and out more than one million times in March.

The quick and easy way to pay was first introduced in 2019 and has steadily become the most popular method of payment among Metrolink customers.

The March milestone of 1.1 million brings the total number of contactless journeys to 19 million since 2019 and you can read the full story here.

London Tramlink

The London Tramlink depot at Therapia Lane is to benefit from a grant which will enable it to become cleaner, greener and cheaper to run as part of Transport for London’s aim to help meet the Mayor’s goal of a net-zero London by 2030.

TfL have received funding from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. This aims to provide grants for public sector bodies in England to fund heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency measures.

In total £592,000 has been awarded and this will go towards several improvements at Therapia Lane and more details can be found here.


There will be no Green Line trams running between St. Stephen’s Green and Beechwood Luas stops this weekend (April 15 and 16) to make way for essential maintenance.

During this temporary closure, trams will run between Broombridge/Parnell and St. Stephen’s Green and between Beechwood and Sandyford/Brides Glen only.

The work will involve breaking concrete in certain areas and repairing rail and further details can be found here.

Tyne & Wear Metro 

An anti-social behaviour operation that received fantastic results and has been rolled out for a second year across North Tyneside.

Resulting in a 30% reduction of ASB in its first year, Operation Maple was launched in 2022 as a joint initiative between Northumbria Police, North Tyneside Council and Metro operator, Nexus.

This year, officers are confident the previous successes will be replicated, with the project focusing on all coastal Metro stations between Meadow Well and Northumberland Park during the spring and summer months as a result of proven demand and increased visitors into the area.

The key facet of Operation Maple sees uniformed and plain-clothed officers ride the Metro network for entire shifts and you can read the full story here.

Proposed new systems

Media reports suggest a major plan for a high-speed tram connecting Kent and south Essex is starting to make progress and is set to cost around £800million.

KenEx is scheme set to include a tramway connecting Grays with Kent via a tunnel under the River Thames and the initial part of the project is set to be completed by 2028.

As reported here, a further plan for the project could see the line extended to Basildon and Canvey at a cost of £400million. An outline business case has been accepted by the Department for Transport and a full business case being finalised is expected to be submitted later this year.


Seaton Tramway has announced the competition of significant upgrades, repairs, and improvements carried out over the winter months.

The annual closure for winter maintenance took place from January 3 to mid-February, and included track repairs, upgrades to the system, and improvements to the trams themselves.

Regular inspections and repairs allow the team to identify potential problems before they become serious, helping to extend the life of the tramway and minimise the need for costly repairs in the future.

During the maintenance period this year, volunteers have also been working hard on restoring and painting the seating of Tram car 12 and you can read more here.


Ahead of ‘going live’ later this month, major upgrades to the Tram Accident and Incident Reporting (TAIR) system have been given the green light by a team of light rail safety professionals.

Members of the TAIR Implementation Group, which includes representatives from several major networks, have signed off the latest version of the enhanced system that’s set to deliver a major boost to tram safety.

Led by the Light Rail Safety and Standards Board, consultants and software developers have worked closely with operators to ensure the upgrades meet the requirement for an effective centralised platform that gathers data for incident reporting, analysis and risk modelling. For a full update on the project, click here.

A new video also demonstrates how TAIR sits at the heart of the LRSSB’s wider risk management framework and you can read more about it here.

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