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Light Rail news roundup 25th August 2023 Friday August 25, 2023

In this week’s news from the light rail sector – The Stourbridge Shuttle celebrates passenger milestone, engineering works in Edinburgh, a unique challenge for ultramarathon runner on Tyne & Wear Metro, and proposals for a new tram line in London.


The light rail heritage sector has been praised for its willingness to engage with regulators on enhancing safety processes and risk management.

Dr Lindsey Smith, HM Inspector of Railways at the Office of Road and Rail, has visited a number of preservation tramways in recent months, and said she has been impressed by their willingness to drive further safety improvements.

During a recent meeting of the UKTram Heritage Committee, Dr Smith also said she was looking forward to a much closer working relationship with them following the recent launch of the ORR’s Heritage Inspection Plan, and you can read more here.

In other light rail news: 

Stourbridge Shuttle

The Stourbridge Shuttle is celebrating seven million passenger journeys since services began in 2009.

This incredible achievement helps to showcase the value that a short feeder route can have for a local community like Stourbridge, particularly as a convenient and cost-effective public transport option.

Opened in 1879, the Branch is thought to be the shortest passenger transit route in Europe at 0.8 miles long, and it has now been carrying passengers for over 143 years, and you can find out more here.

Edinburgh Trams  

Part of Edinburgh’s tram network will see the temporary suspension of evening and early morning services next month when essential engineering works are taking place throughout the night.

From 7pm on Tuesday 5th to 7am on Wednesday 6th September and from 7pm on Wednesday 6th until 7am on Thursday 7th September, trams will only operate between Newhaven and Edinburgh Park Station, with a replacement bus serving all stops to Edinburgh Airport. Further details can be found here.

Manchester Metrolink

People are being urged to plan ahead and allow more time for their journeys as Greater Manchester gears up for a busy August bank holiday weekend.Saturday (August 26) will be the busiest of the three days, with the iconic Pride Parade taking place in the city centre and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds concert at Wythenshawe Park.

Meanwhile, Manchester United host Nottingham Forest in their second home game of the season, with 75,000 fans expected at a sell-out Old Trafford, and you can read the full story here.

Docklands Light Railway

Transport for London has invited expressions of interest in the next franchise to operate and maintain the Docklands Light Railway automated light metro.

As reported by Railway Gazette here, the current contract held by the KeolisAmey Docklands joint venture of Keolis and Amey is due to expire on April 1, 2025.

TfL’s objectives for the next contract include driving demand recovery and ridership growth; delivering environmental goals; providing good working conditions for staff; and optimising performance and financial efficiency through continuous improvement and innovation, flexibility and collaboration.

Tyne & Wear Metro

An ultramarathon runner is taking on the unique challenge of running the length of the Tyne and Wear Metro network over two consecutive days to raise money for charity.

Ben Cook will undertake the 63-mile run over the August Bank Holiday weekend, charting the same route as the iconic Metro map. He will track the Metro lines, taking in the fastest routes from station to station via public roads and footpaths.

Ben, 30, of West Moor, who runs at club level for Heaton Harriers, is supporting The Running Charity, which helps 16-25 year-olds who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and you can read the full story here.

Proposed new systems

In a bid to supercharge the local economy, Havering Council in north-east London is exploring the possibility of a new tram network.

The ambitious plans aim to connect the northern and southern ends of the borough, opening up fresh avenues for commuters and businesses.

Time Out reports that the proposed tram route would potentially run from Harold Wood through Romford and Upminster, culminating at a proposed railway station in Rainham called Beam Park.

This new network could also link up with the Docklands Light Railway and the anticipated Essex-Kent KenEx tram connection and you can read more here.


A tramcar in the National Tramway Museum (NTM) collection at Crich Tramway Village, which originally ran in Derby, is to return to its spiritual home as part of an exciting new project.

Derby Corporation tramcar No. 1, which was built in 1903, will be loaned for display as part of Derby’s new centre for classic motor vehicle restoration – ‘Great Northern Classics’ – at the former Victoria Ironworks foundry on Osmaston Road.

The building has a long history of industrial engineering use and most recently served as the Rolls-Royce Heritage Centre. Most significantly for the display of the Derby tram, at one time the building was used by Derby Corporation as a depot to house trams and trolleybuses. Click here to read more.

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