In this week’s news from the light rail sector – Patronage records broken in Edinburgh, driver familiarisation underway on West Midlands Metro extension, illuminations season starts in Blackpool, mixed martial arts star joins campaign to tackle ASB in Manchester, and Seaton tramway is looking for new board members.
West Midlands Metro
Driver familiarisation has now started on a section of line that will connect the existing West Midlands Metro (WMM) system to Wolverhampton’s new integrated transport gateway. When the route opens to passengers in just a few weeks, trams will call at new stops on Pipers Row and Wolverhampton Station as engineers from the Midland Metro Alliance (MMA) – which has designed and constructed the route on behalf of Transport for West Midlands – completes additional activities at the existing St. George’s terminus. However, the ‘real world’ driver training, which builds on intensive work in a simulator at the Metro depot in Wednesbury, will mean that services to Wolverhampton will temporarily terminate at The Royal stop, and you can read more here.
Edinburgh’s award-winning tramway has enjoyed its busiest month ever, with more than 1.2m customer journeys recorded in August. As the city hosted a series of cultural events as part of its globally acclaimed festival season, Edinburgh Trams stepped up services to ensure customers could make the most of a packed programme of performances, from big names to breakthrough artists. Passenger numbers have also been boosted by rugby internationals at the Scottish Gas Murrayfield stadium, with extra trams laid on to make sure fans missed none of the action. Services have also run through the night on Fridays and Saturdays to meet demand from concert and festival goers, as reported here.
Blackpool’s world-famous lights are switched on tonight (Friday, September 1), and Blackpool Transport will be using diversions to keep customers moving during the Illuminations season. This is due to congestion in Blackpool Town Centre and surrounding areas. For trams, a ‘split service’ will run from 6:30pm due to the number of people on the Promenade. They will not operate between Central Pier and North Pier, which means uninterrupted travel will only be possible from Starr Gate to Central Pier and North Pier to Fleetwood. Tickets for a full tram journey (i,e. Starr Gate to Fleetwood) are still available, but customers will need to get off the tram between North and Central Piers to board again. Click here for the full story.
Greater Manchester’s leading professional mixed martial artist is backing a new campaign urging young people to think about the consequences of antisocial behaviour on public transport. Atherton-born Tom Aspinall, who competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), has been speaking to youngsters about how their journeys on the bus or tram have been affected by the actions of others as part of the Don’t Get Ghosted campaign. The TravelSafe Partnership is warning that individuals could lose their free or concessionary travel passes, or be banned from public transport altogether, if they are found to be persistently misbehaving on the network. Fighting, vaping, throwing things, playing music loudly, being noisy or abusive in groups or activating emergency door handles on trams are among the most regular examples of antisocial behaviour reported to TravelSafe, and you can read more here.
There will be no Red Line trams running between Blackhorse and Heuston Luas Stops this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday September, trams will run between Tallaght/Saggart and Blackhorse, and between Heuston and The Point only. A replacement bus service will run between Blackhorse and Heuston approximately every 15 minutes, with some restrictions, and customers are being urged to allow extra time for travel. A valid Luas ticket, TFI Leap Card, or Public Services Card with Free Travel is required to use the replacement bus service, and further details can be found here.
As Seaton Tramway develops over the coming years, it is looking to strengthen its Charity Board in terms of numbers, knowledge, understanding and representation. As part of this process, the current directors wish to offer exciting opportunities to join the board, with successful candidates required to take on the duties and responsibilities of a charity trustee/ director. Applications are invited from people from groups that are under-represented in the heritage railway sector, including young people, people with disabilities, people from diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, and people from the LGBTQ+ community. You can find out more here.
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