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Light Rail news roundup 7th July 2023 Friday July 7, 2023

In this week’s news from the light rail sector – Tramway heritage celebrated in the West Midlands, first tests of new train in Tyne and Wear, eye-catching tram in Edinburgh and proposals for a light rail in Southwark.


Talks this week with the government minister responsible for light rail have seen UKTram highlight challenges faced by the sector while enabling it to press home the case for future growth.

During a meeting in Westminster, Richard Holden MP received an update on the work of the organisation representing the sector as part of wide-ranging discussions with James Hammett, UKTram’s Managing Director, and its Interim Chair, Lindsay Murphy. For the full story, click here.

Also, UKTram has set out its priorities for the next 12 months, including working with members to boost post-pandemic patronage.

It has also pledged to continue its work on assessing the viability of proposed new light and very light rail systems, and extensions to existing networks, in its updated business plan, and you can find out more here.

In other light rail news:

West Midlands Metro

The old and new were brought together as part of a unique exhibition highlighting the history of trams in the West Midlands last month.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the last ‘historic’ tram in the region, the event at Acocks Green Library also featured exhibits donated by the operator of today’s, ‘modern’ system.

Several stunning displays of vintage-scale model trams formed the centrepiece of the day. The event also highlighted original tram memorabilia, some local historical artwork and family craft activities. In contrast, visitors were able to find out more about the region’s expanding ‘second generation’ tramway and you can read more here.

Edinburgh Trams  

Camera Obscura & World of Illusions have launched a colourful partnership with Edinburgh Trams.

A newly branded tram is showcasing over 30 images of the attraction’s top exhibits, along with capturing fun and memorable moments.

The bright pink and blue tram is hard to miss as it makes its way through the city and you can read the full story here.

Docklands Light Railway

Spanish manufacturer CAF has secured an agreement to extend the contract awarded in June 2019 for the supply of trains for the Docklands Light Railway managed by Transport for London (TfL).

As reported here, the extended agreement includes the supply of eleven additional trains, which will be added to the 43 initial units included in the contract. The website RailTech reports the contract extension is worth more than €90 million.

Tyne & Wear Metro 

The new Stadler Metro train has completed its first test run along the Sunderland line and Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, said the test had been successful and part of the ongoing and detailed preparations to get the new fleet ready for customer service.

The first test through Sunderland took place in the early hours of Saturday, July 1 and was the first time that the new train has been on the track between Pelaw and South Hylton. It was also the first time it has crossed the iconic Monkwearmouth railway bridge in the centre of the city.

The testing was carried in conjunction with Network Rail, who own and manage the line beyond Pelaw, and you can read more here.

Proposed new systems

A privately-backed tram company will push for a new Southwark route despite Transport for London’s (TfL) “significant concerns” about the scheme.

That Trampower wants to build a line running from London Bridge to Denmark Hill via ten other stations – despite TfL identifying “a number of safety issues”.

Southwark news reports here that Trampower wants to build a line running from London Bridge to Denmark Hill via ten other stations – despite TfL identifying “a number of safety issues”.

The company claims the privately-financed Southwark Supertram could be built in just twelve months using innovative construction techniques – at minimal cost to the taxpayer.


Seaton Tramway has announced that the Natural Seaton Festival is returning for its second year in 2023. This year’s festival will take place from the July 21 -July 23.

Visitors can expect a weekend full of exciting activities and entertainment for all ages, spread throughout the town. Tesco Plaza will host a variety of stalls showcasing local products and crafts, while Thury Harcourt Place will feature a wide selection of eateries and a bar serving up delicious food and drinks.

They can also enjoy performances and activities inspired by the tramway’s Natural surroundings, including sandcastle building, storytelling, and live music, and further details can be found here.

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