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Light Rail news roundup 3rd November 2023 Friday November 3, 2023

In this week’s news from the light rail sector – Extra trams at peak times in the West Midlands, comedy performances on trams in Nottingham, armed services tribute in Edinburgh, and maintenance works on Manchester Metrolink.


As work on ambitious plans for a new Metro system in Cardiff and surrounding areas gathers pace, Transport for Wales is among the latest organisations to join the light rail sector’s representative body.

A train-tram system that’s set to bring the benefits of light rail to the Cardiff Bay area forms a key component of the plans, and the project team at TfW has drawn on the expertise offered by UKTram for advice on tramway design and operations.

Now it has become a full member of the organisation, joining a host of other statutory organisations and regional authorities that are helping to drive the expansion of tramways and similar transit systems across the UK. For the full story, click here.

In other light rail news:

West Midlands Metro

West Midlands Metro to introduce extra trams at peak times in response to the network’s growing popularity.

From Monday, November 6, an enhanced timetable will see up to three additional trams added to the usual service during busy periods, complementing the ten-minute frequency already in place.

Michael Reading-Skilton, Metro’s Commercial Manager, says the tram is now busier than ever, with the extension to Wolverhampton Station and the opening of two new stops further boosting its popularity, and you can read the full story here.


In honour of this year’s Nottingham Comedy Festival, tomorrow (Saturday, November 4), riders of Nottingham Express Transit (NET)’s 12:05pm tram from Toton Lane to Hucknall will be treated to a side-splitting tram ride to remember.

With just a valid tram ticket or pass needed, those who hop on the Toton Lane to Hucknall tramline anywhere along the route will be able to experience live onboard comedy performances from five comedians during their journey.

Taking turns in 15-minute slots, comedians Dan Webber, Stephen Catling, Sachin Kumarendran, Katie Mitchell and Adam Anwar will all be on hand to add a little laughter and cheer to passengers, and you can read more here.

Edinburgh Trams

As Edinburgh prepares to remember the sacrifices made by members of the armed forces, the city’s tram network has announced free travel for veterans and serving members of the army, navy and air force.

On both Saturday, November 11 – the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I – and Remembrance Sunday on November 12, they will be able to take up the offer by wearing their uniform or showing their military ID.

In the lead-up to events marking the annual act of national remembrance and reflection, poppies will also be on display in tram windows as a further mark of respect to all those who fell in two world wars and more recent conflicts. For further details, click here.

Manchester Metrolink

Track repair work will be carried out on the Bury and Rochdale lines on Saturday and Sunday (November 4 and 5), meaning there will be no tram service between Bury and Whitefield, or Freehold and Rochdale town centre during this time.

Those going to see Peter Kay or Oktagon 48 MMA at Manchester Arena – or heading to see City take on Bournemouth at the Etihad – are reminded to check whether this will affect their journeys and plan ahead.

Replacement bus services will be laid on at all affected stops to ensure people are still able to make their journeys as usual, and further information can be found here.

Tyne & Wear Metro 

An historic railway bridge that carries thousands of Metro services has been undergoing specialist inspections to pave the way for a major track replacement scheme across its span.

As part of modernisation plans for Howdon viaduct in North Tyneside, specially trained engineers donned harnesses and used ropes to scale the 80ft structure to conduct a meticulous inspection of its wrought iron arches.

The work was commissioned as part of the preparations to renew the track running across the 320-metre viaduct, which spans the Willington Gut, linking east Newcastle with North Tyneside, and the full story can be found here.

Very Light Rail

The pioneering Coventry Very Light Rail (CVLR) project has achieved a major milestone with successful running of the vehicle on its test track at the Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre (VLRNIC) in Dudley.

The battery-powered vehicle and revolutionary track system will offer cities the chance to install rapid passenger tram systems faster and at a much lower cost than traditional light rail systems.

The innovative track is thinner than the track used in existing light rail or tram systems. As a result, it can be laid just 30cm deep into the road surface, reducing the need to divert all pipes and cables, which can add significant cost and time delays to light rail projects. To read more, click here.

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